Today I wanted to cook them something different, but healthy at the same time. My family and I, we’re great fans of Indonesian and Oriental Cuisine, and we love Chicken Satay, with its beautifully rich and tasty peanut sauce. To this end, I decided to make us some Chicken Satay Skewers served with a colourful and delicious Rainbow Salad. They turned out to be a delicious feast for the eyes as well as the tummy and I felt good about helping my family to get in at least a few of their “five a day!”
Indonesian food offers a great kaleidoscope of flavours and textures. With savoury, hot and spicy flavours, this cuisine also incorporates basic and delicious combinations of sweet and salty, sour, and bitter. This tasty dish surely comes with at least a few of those things!
One thing my family has never been able to say about me is that I am a boring cook. I love to invent new recipes and to try new things, and my family have often been my guinea pigs in this process. I hasten to add that they have never truly complained. We are all adventurous foodies in our home! Come adventuring with us by trying this recipe!
Gathering Up All the Ingredients
I used Chicken breast meat for my skewers, but you could also certainly use chicken thighs. Thighs have a bit more flavour than the breast meat and don’t dry out as quickly, but both work quite well.
The chicken is marinated briefly in a peanut dressing and then threaded onto skewers with cubes of pineapple prior to grilling beneath a hot oven broiler.
The salad is composed of a variety of colourful and crisp vegetables. Jewel-like red cabbage, julienned carrot, knife-shredded sugar snap peas, and two colours of sweet bell peppers. I chose to use red and yellow peppers, but you can use which ever colours appeal to you.
What about the Dressing?
The dressing forms the basis for both aspects of the recipe, with a portion of it being used in both the marinating sauce for the chicken satay, as well as a dressing for the salad itself. It is a very easy make and filled with iconic sweet/salty/hot and bitter/sharp Indonesian flavours.
One of the main ingredients for the dressing is Ketjap Manis, which is a sweet thick Indonesian Soy Sauce. I make my own from scratch. It is vital for the flavours of this dressing and dish. Ketjap Manis is aromatic and thick, with a molasses-like syrupy viscosity. It is truly delicious. You can make your own (there is a recipe to make your own on my blog) or you can buy it online or in good Oriental shops.
Aside from that you will need the juice of a whole lime (tart/bitter), sweet chili sauce (for heat), garlic (sharp), fresh ginger root (spicy and hot), pineapple juice (sweet), dark soy sauce (salty) and some vegetable oil.
Making the Dressing
This all gets simply whisked together for the dressing. I use my fine micro-plane grater to grate both the ginger root and the garlic. It does a great job of getting it to the right consistency. You don’t want the dish to spoilt with large chunks of either ingredient.
You will be using a portion of this as a dressing for the vegetable salad and another portion of it will be blended with smooth peanut butter and used to marinade the chicken pieces.
Cutting & Marinating the Chicken
You will want to cut your chicken pieces into 1-inch sized cubes. I remove any fatty bits and sinew prior to doing this and safely discard.
SAFETY-TIP FOR CHICKEN!
Make sure you use a separate cutting board and utensils when you are dealing with raw chicken in order to prevent cross-contamination. Cross-contamination means that unaffected food can become contaminated by transference of bacteria from another item or medium, for example raw and cooked meat being handled with the same cutting board/knives. There are some types of bacteria present in raw poultry that can give you a nasty case of food poisoning. Salmonella is the one of the worst along with listeria. To prevent this, you should follow these steps:
- Practice good personal hygiene
- Keep your kitchen free of insects and rodents
- Wash your hands, equipment and surfaces after handling raw poultry
- Keeping separate cutting boards for raw and cooked meats and for vegetables and fruit, and then using them only for those purposes.
I have a cutting board in the kitchen which is used specifically for poultry and I always bleach it after use prior to putting it in the dishwasher which helps to get rid of any bacteria that might linger. Also, always wash my hands thoroughly, as well as my knives also before I go on to touch anything else in the kitchen. Then, I sanitise the surrounding countertop and I throw any cloths I have used immediately into the wash. Better to be safe than sorry!
Once you have the chicken cubed you can pop it into a bowl. Remove a portion of the dressing and whisk it together with the peanut butter for the chicken marinade and then pour this mixture over the chicken. I give it a good mix together with my hands to make sure it is well coated and then leave it to marinate while I prep the vegetables for the salad.
Prepping the Veggies
Shred the Cabbage
Red cabbage provides a lovely vibrancy and beautifully crunchy texture to the salad. I try to shred it as thinly as I can with a sharp knife. My chef’s knife does a great job with this. You don’t want to use a box grater or food processor for any of the vegetables. They would cut them too finely. You want your vegetables to have a bit of bite and texture for this salad.
Julienne the Carrots
A good sharp knife makes short work of this process. For cutting the carrots into matchstick pieces, I square off the carrot as best as I can, and then cut it into 2-inch lengths. I then cut the lengths into ¼ inch slices, stack the slices, and then using my knife, I cut the stacks into ¼ inch slices again. Perfect matchsticks! Any odd trimmings make healthy treats for our English Cocker. She loves them. Nothing is wasted.
Sliver the Snap Peas
When slivering the snap peas, you will want to first de-string them. Sugar Snap Peas have an inedible string that runs down at least one of the sides, usually the straighter inner edge of the pea. It is very easy to remove this.
Hold a paring knife in one hand and the sugar snap pea in the other, with the inside curve of the pod facing you. Make a cut into the top of the pea, almost all the way through, and pull this along with the tough string by pulling it back towards you. These bits can be discarded. Once you have all the strings removed you can use your knife to sliver the peas. lengthwise.
Sliver the Peppers
You will also sliver the peppers into thin slices. Simply lop off both the stem and bottom end evenly. You can make a slit down one side and the peppers should simply unroll, where-upon you can remove and discard any ribs and the seeds. You will be left with an evenly sized length of pepper that you can easily cut crosswise into slivers.
Put the vegetables aside while you finish off the chicken.
Time to Grill the Skewers
You can use metal skewers for the chicken or bamboo skewers. If you are using bamboo you will want to have been soaking them for a while prior to use to help prevent a minor house fire.
Preheat your oven grill to high.
You thread the chicken cubes onto the skewers, alternating them with pineapple chunks. (Remember, separate cutting board!) Once you have them all threaded, you can place them onto a baking sheet which you have lined with aluminium foil and sprayed with a bit of low-fat cooking spray.
Don’t discard the marinade just yet! Brush the loaded skewers with some of it and then pop them under the grill. It won’t take very long to cook them. Five minutes per side, brushing them with some more marinade when you turn them over. (Discard any remaining marinade.) About 5 to 6 inches from the grill is perfect.
The chicken juices will run clear when they are done and there should be no pinkness to the flesh remaining. Set them aside and keep warm while you dress the salad.
Dress the Salad & Serve!
To dress the salad simply toss all the prepped vegetables together in a serving bowl along with the remaining dressing. Easy-peasy!
The chicken skewers can be popped onto a serving platter and scattered with some chopped roasted peanuts and slivered scallions as a garnish.
Dinner is served! Some steamed rice on the side goes very well.
Chicken Satay Skewers with Rainbow Salad Recipe
Nutty and sweet chicken skewers with a refreshingly fresh and colourful salad.
- For the Dressing:
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, finely grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- The juice of one fresh lime
- 2 tbsp Ketjap Manis (a thick sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce)
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet Chili sauce
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- For the Salad:
- ¼ red cabbage, cored
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 small red and yellow bell pepper
- 3 ounces fresh sugar snap peas
- For the chicken skewers:
- 1 14 ½ ounce tin of pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved
- 4 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into1-inch pieces
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp toasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
You will also need 8 wooden skewers
- Place the wooden skewers in water and set aside to soak.
- Whisk together all the salad dressing ingredients along with 2 tbsp of the reserved pineapple juice in a large bowl.
- Remove 5 tbsp of the dressing and whisk it together with the peanut butter in a separate container. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. To the remainder of the dressing add a further 2 tbsp of the reserved pineapple juice.
- Finely shred the cabbage for the salad and cut the carrot into match-stick sized pieces. Thinly slice the peppers and the sugar snap peas. Set aside.
- Preheat the grill/broiler to high.
- Thread the chicken pieces alternating with the pineapple chunks onto the soaked wooden skewers. Place them onto a foil lined baking tray, lightly greased. Brush with any remaining marinade, and season lightly with salt and black pepper.
- Grill the chicken skewers for 5 minutes on one side, then flip over and grill for an additional 5 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Toss the salad together with the remaining dressing. Place the skewers onto a serving platter and scatter with the chopped peanuts and sliced scallions.
- Serve immediately with the salad on the side. Enjoy!
Complete Steps in Pictures
Check out some of my other recipes:
Marie Rayner is a Canadian, who moved over to the UK and began a new life in the year 2000. At the age of 45 she decided she needed a career change and went back to College to take a Chef’s course, after which she worked as a Personel Chef for a number of years.