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A chicken satay with bold -- and borrowed -- flavors

 

This July 28 photo shows spicy peanut chicken satay in Concord, N.H. The chicken satay is an easy, weeknight-friendly chicken dinner that is a bit of a cultural mash-up. The sauce delivers a sweet-tangy-savory-spicy blend of flavors, all tied together with finely ground peanuts.

This July 28 photo shows spicy peanut chicken satay in Concord, N.H. The chicken satay is an easy, weeknight-friendly chicken dinner that is a bit of a cultural mash-up. The sauce delivers a sweet-tangy-savory-spicy blend of flavors, all tied together with finely ground peanuts. Photo by: AP Photo/Matthew Mead

 

J.M. Hirsch/AP Food Editor

 

 

This easy, weeknight-friendly chicken dinner is a bit of a cultural mash-up. Deliciously so. 

 

I started by bathing hard-to-overcook chicken thighs in a robust satay-style sauce. The sauce delivers a sweet-tangy-savory-spicy blend of flavors thanks to ample amounts of brown sugar, cider vinegar, fish sauce and garlic chili paste. And tying it all together? Finely ground peanuts, which lend both a richness and a hearty texture to the sauce. 

 

As a balance to all those big flavors, the cooked chicken gets dressed with diced tomatoes and avocado, a cooling and fresh contrast to the warm chicken. Finally, a hearty sprinkle of malt vinegar (the usual condiment for fish and chips). It has a tangy sweetness that pulls everything together. 

 

As is, this is a great meal. But you could take it even further and serve the whole thing in a pita wrap. Or continue the cultural amalgamation by chopping the chicken and piling everything over nachos. 

 

 

 

SPICY PEANUT CHICKEN SATAY 

 

Start to finish: 25 minutes 

 

Makes 6 servings 

 

 

 

1 cup roasted peanuts 

 

1/2 cup packed brown sugar 

 

1/2 cup cider vinegar 

 

1/4 cup fish sauce 

 

1/4 cup garlic-chili paste 

 

1/4 cup tomato paste 

 

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger 

 

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 3 strips 

 

6 medium plum tomatoes, diced 

 

3 avocados, pitted and diced 

 

Kosher salt 

 

Malt vinegar, to serve 

 

 

 

  • Place the peanuts in a food processor. Using the pulse button, grind them until very fine. Be careful not to overgrind; the peanuts should resemble breadcrumbs, not peanut butter. Transfer to a large bowl, then mix in the brown sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, garlic-chili paste, tomato paste and ginger. Add the chicken, stirring to coat well, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. 

     

  • When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium-high. Use an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs to oil the grill grates. 

     

  • Thread the chicken onto skewers. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for about 30 minutes first to prevent them from burning. 

     

  • Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes, turning once. To serve, pile several skewers per plate, then spoon diced tomatoes and avocado over them. Season with salt and malt vinegar. 

     

    Nutrition information per serving: 530 calories; 280 calories from fat (53 percent of total calories); 31 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 75 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrate; 9 g fiber; 23 g sugar; 29 g protein; 1630 mg sodium.

     

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