Thai Chicken-and-Salad

We went to the Hollywood Bowl (to see Monty Python live, as I recall), and my friend Sue served this as her contribution to our picnic on the grass. Everybody raved about it! The chicken marinade and salad dressing are from the same basic mixture. This isn't an authentic Thai satay recipe, but it's wonderful.

Chicken

6 chicken breasts (skinned and deboned)

Salad

romaine lettuce (washed and torn)
green onions (sliced)
red bell pepper (strips)

Sauce

2/3 c peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c lemon juice (fresh is best)
1/3 to 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves only
2 t grated fresh ginger
dried peppers to taste (flakes or whole Thai peppers)
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Whirl in blender. You may need a little water. Yield: 2 c.

Pour out about 1 c of the peanut butter sauce. Marinate the chicken in it for about 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Reserve the rest of the sauce. DO NOT let it come in contact with the raw chicken, which may be contaminated with salmonella. Baking will kill the salmonella in the chicken, but the salad won't be cooked.

Thin the reserved sauce with oil and vinegar until it is the consistency of salad dressing. You probably will want a proportion of about 1:3 of vinegar:oil, but taste first. You may want only oil or only vinegar. Store in the refrigerator.

Remove chicken from marinade and grill. In the early stages of grilling, you can safely baste with the marinade. After about 3 muinutes, don't baste with this marinade anymore, as it there will not be enough time for the heat to destroy the bacteria. Discard the leftover marinade now.

If you prefer, cut chicken in large chunks and grill on skewers.

Refrigerate cooked chicken.

To serve, make the salad and toss with the dressing. Serve the chicken on a bed of the salad, passing the extra dressing with it.

For a picnic, pack chicken, salad, and dressing separately.

A Quickie Version for chicken "satay" (without salad):

I make the sauce at home and put it on pan-sautéed (or grilled) chicken; I don't bother to marinate the chicken. I boil down the sauce to a thick-ish consistency, but first: (1) Use either vinegar or lemon juice; not both; taste for tartness. (2) Eliminate oil. (3) Add a little sugar. I serve this with rice. By the way, I make the full recipe of the sauce because it's so good, no matter how much chicken I'm cooking. And if there's rice and sauce left over, why, then, what a lunch!

Note: Store ginger in freezer in container with tight lid. Grate while frozen or thaw. I use a micro-plane grater. I don't even both to scrape the "peel" off the root (which you can do by scraping with a spoon; no need to get the vegetable peeler from the drawer).


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marbeth@marthabeth.com