Turns out that chicken sate I’d gotten to know on Thai menus is only one of a sate galaxy. Across Asia, people are marinating chicken with whatever’s handy and throwing it on a fire.
Here’s a simple but satisfying entrant from Indonesia, distinguished by its use of galangal, also called laos. It’s a relative of ginger with floral overtones.
I found my galangal dried and ground in a local Asian store, but you shouldn’t worry, because its absence won’t ruin the dish. Just substitute a similar amount of additional ginger and garlic, or if dried, curry powder.
I’ve made big vats of this sate, knowing that’s it’s versatile and durable. I can testify that if you still have some in your refrigerator after three days, that once sauted it makes a fine accompaniment to eggs over easy with chili sauce.
4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground galangal (or 2 teaspoons curry powder)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
vegetable oil, for grilling
Cut chicken into pieces of 1 inch or so. Whir up the other ingredients in a blender or food processor to combine well. Pour over chicken and marinate, refrigerated, for two hours to three days.
Thread onto skewers. Brush with oil and grill, turning often, until done as desired.
A peanut sauce goes well with sate, but only if you’re ambitious. I suggest the sauce recipe at the bottom of this Saveur recipe.