Of course I may be biased, however, our grandmother’s peanut sauce is still the best satay sauce I’ve ever had! We grew up loving it so much it inspired two pumping eateries in Melbourne and now Eighteen Thousand Islands Satay Sauce. We wanted to recreate her peanut-packed recipe with its balance of Indonesian spices and palm sugar sweetness, as we knew it would be a hit outside our family.
So now that we have, we’re often asked, what’s the best way to enjoy it? There’s loads of ways to use it, from a dip straight out of the jar, mixed through a stir-fry or on a Gado-Gado salad (there’s a recipe for a later date). We’ve even had customers tell us they heat it gently and have it on their steak. The Dutch, being former colonists of Indonesia, have an affinity for peanut sauce on fries. Having lived there in my early 20’s, I can vouch for it as a great hangover snack!
Mention satay, however, and most people tend to think of chicken skewers smothered in peanut sauce. So for this post, let’s start there. Chicken skewers with Eighteen Thousand Islands’ Satay Sauce. Surely skewering a bit of chicken and whacking on our sauce can’t be that hard you say? And you would be correct. However, there are a couple of easy tips to make those skewers the perfect vessels for that peanut goodness.
Here’s what you’ll need (serves four):
- 1kg of boneless free range chicken thighs (much more tender than breast which dries out really fast)
- 30 x 20cm (8 inch) bamboo skewers
- 3 tblsp of Eighteen Thousand Islands Kecap Manis
- ½ jar of Eighteen Thousand Islands Satay Sauce
- ¼ of a lemon
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Fried shallots to garnish
These satay skewers are based on a more traditional Indonesian size rather than the large kebab style skewers you’ll find at many Australian backyard barbies.
In a large bowl or container, soak the bamboo skewers, fully immersed in water for approximately 10 minutes. This will help prevent them burning on the BBQ later. Dice the chicken into small pieces no larger than 2cm by 2cm. Small pieces will cook quicker on the char-grill or bbq, remain tender for longer and also strike a great balance with the peanut sauce. Thread 4-5 pieces onto each skewer, keeping the pieces touching at the pointy end of the stick. The meat should take up about a third of the bamboo skewer. This leaves plenty of stick to grip and rotate when it comes to barbequing.
This is a really simple mixture to brush over the chicken once it’s skewered. It’ll give them a nice flavor but won’t compete with the peanut sauce – only complement it.
In a small bowl place the kecap manis. Squeeze the lemon into the bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of water and mix. Brush the mixture over the chicken and leave for at least 5 minutes.
Char-grill or BBQ:
To achieve the ideal smoky flavour use a BBQ with charcoal. As that is often impractical, any BBQ will still produce good results. Place your chicken skewers so that the meat is over flame and the exposed stick is overhanging the edge of the BBQ ensuring it won’t get burnt. As the chicken pieces and skewers are small, it should take no more than 6 minutes (rotating occasionally) to cook the skewers. This will obviously depend on the power of your BBQ. If you’re using charcoal, have a fan handy to encourage flame if required.
Open the jar of Eighteen Thousand Islands Satay Sauce and stir well with a spoon. Heat your desired amount gently on low heat for approximately a minute, taking care not to burn it.
As soon as the chicken is ready, lay them in a single layer on a large serving plate. Pour the sauce evenly over the top and garnish with fried shallots. Serve with steaming hot white rice, extra kecap manis to taste and Eighteen Thousand Islands Chilli Sauce to spice things up!