Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Q: What has four breasts and no legs? A: The chicken we've been eating this week.

I had a presentation to give this morning on the Berlin smoking ban (don't worry, I'll spare you the details), so naturally I managed to make the preparation of last night's meal stretch out for a good three hours, thus rendering working on said presentation impossible. It's a gift, I tell you.

5. Chicken Satay with Cucumber
So, this recipe, which comes courtesy of the 'Spicy Food' chapter, comprises three parts: a bed of cucumber ribbons, grilled marinated chicken strips, and a satay sauce. I made the sauce first (in full quantities even though I was halving the rest of the recipe, as the amount didn't look over generous) which just involves stirring together oyster sauce, peanut butter (you're meant to use crunchy but I only had smooth) and sweet chilli sauce, with a dash of lime juice to taste.

Next up, the chicken: you cut your chicken breasts into strips and give them a good whack to flatten them (disturbingly satisfying), then marinate them in a mixture of soy sauce, lime juice, vegetable oil, cumin, coriander, garlic and cayenne pepper. I missed out the salt, sauce plus salt? Finally, the cucumber's pretty self-explanatory; you simply use a vegetable peeler to slice it into ribbons and arrange on a plate. Then it's just a question of threading the chicken onto skewers and grilling - gratifyingly quick thanks to all the theraputic bashing - before piling the skewers onto the bed of cucumber.
Yum yum! (Marvel at my eloquence! And reconsider the intellectual benefits of a university education.) I thought this was delicious - the chicken was beautifully tender and the sauce complemented it perfectly. I'd cooked some noodles to flesh out the meal a bit and tossed them with tori kara age sauce, which went well enough with everything else but was waaay too salty (this is a recurring theme with sauces from the Wagamama cookbooks, approach with caution!).

Mike says: "Good party food, but perhaps not filling enough to constitute a meal. The thin cucumber was really nice against the spiciness of the satay."

Ahhh, Mikeland, that place where a chicken breast plus a bowlful of noodles per person constitutes a canapé...

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