Thai Style Chicken Satay Rice Bowl

I absolutely love Thai food.  From the spicy coconut curries, and fresh salads, to the stronger flavours of slow-cooked dishes from the north, there are so many amazing dishes to try.  I was in Bangkok for the weekend a few weeks ago and we had such a fantastic time.  Hong Kong is a fantastic city and has so many amazing aspects to it, but sometimes it feels like I could be in any big city anywhere in the world.  When you step out into Bangkok it is a very different experience, you are immediately hit with a cacophony of sounds, sites, smells, and flavours.  It is a sprawling, hectic, incongruous mix of old and new; east and west, and the food is amazing!  In Bangkok there is so much amazing street food, but this time I was visiting with my girlfriends and we wanted something a bit more special, so we went to a well-known restaurant called Issaya Siamese Club.  The restaurant is housed in an old colonial style building tucked away, inside its own gardens, on a totally unassuming back street in Sathon district.  They have retained the traditional features of the building but with a trendy modern edge, we had our own private room and it felt like we were at a dinner party at a friends house which was really cool.  We chose the tasting menu and everything was absolutely wonderful, I would highly recommend it if you are ever in Bangkok.

After returning from Bangkok I was still craving Thai food and it reminded me of a great satay recipe that my best friend Kim shared with me years ago.  I have mentioned Kim in my previous posts, she shares my love of food and always sends me wonderful recipes!  I have adapted the recipe slightly to make it more of a one-bowl meal but you can also prepare the chicken in the traditional way, as skewers, and serve the sauce on the side.

Bowls of chicken satay that are packed full of flavour.

Bowls of chicken satay that are packed full of flavour.

RECIPE

Ingredients

Marinade for the chicken:

1 Tsp Chili powder

2 Tbsp Light soy sauce

2 Tsp Brown sugar

1/2 Tsp Ground turmeric

50ml Coconut milk

Juice of 2 limes

500g Chicken breasts, sliced into smaller fillets

Satay sauce:

3 Cloves of garlic

3 Shallots

1 Red chili, deseeded

2 Tsp Ground paprika

175ml Coconut milk

2 Heaped tbsp peanut butter

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1/2 Tsp Salt

Pickled cucumber

1 Cucumber, sliced into ribbons using a vegetable peeler

1/2 Red onion, finely sliced

1/2 Red chili, finely diced

3 Tbsp Caster sugar

70ml Rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp Fish sauce

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the chicken marinade.  Place the chicken and marinade in a bowl or Ziploc style bag and leave in the fridge to marinade for a couple of hours or ideally overnight.
  2. To cook the chicken so that it can be shredded, and then thoroughly coated with the sauce, I cook it very slowly in the oven and shred it part way through cooking.  Heat the oven to 150 degrees Centigrade.  Place the chicken and all of the marinade in a dish that is just big enough to fit the chicken in a single layer.  The marinade should almost cover the chicken.  Place in the oven uncovered for 40 minutes, turning the chicken after 20 minutes.  The marinade will start to reduce but try to keep the chicken covered in the liquid as much as possible, baste if necessary so that it doesn't dry out.  After 40 minutes the chicken should be cooked through.  Remove from the oven and use two forks to shred the chicken.  Stir the shredded chicken in the remaining marinade sauce until it is totally covered and return to the oven for a further 10 - 20 minutes until the marinade has reduced and there is not much liquid remaining.
  3. Whilst the chicken is cooking make the pickled cucumber.  Combine the sugar, vinegar and fish sauce and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Combine the liquid with the remaining ingredients, cover and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to let the flavours combine.
  4. To make the satay sauce combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth sauce.
  5. For the coconut rice, I don't have an exact recipe because, after living in Hong Kong for 6 years, I finally succumbed to the local way and bought a rice cooker, and have never looked back!  What I do is just replace some of the rice cooking water with the remaining coconut milk left over after making the chicken and satay sauce.  I normally buy a 400ml can of coconut milk so end up with about 175ml left.  So whatever method you use to cook your rice I think you could probably do the same, just replace 175ml of the water with 175ml of the coconut milk.  I use Thai jasmine rice and I season it well with plenty of salt.  You can also stir in a drizzle of fish sauce and a little soy for extra flavour.
  6. Serve coconut rice topped with some of the chicken, some satay sauce, and some pickled cucumber.  Eat with an ice-cold Singha beer.
Satay bowl.jpg