This is one of those relatively simple dishes that is ideal if you only want a light meal on a hot summery day, but actually I would be happy to eat at any time of year! Apart from the time taken to marinade the meat and prepare the kebabs, it is quick to cook in a preheated oven. Accompany with a portion of boiled Jasmine Rice, plus salad or some peas served on the side, if you wish. The tomato and chilli sambal is a perfect sauce to accompany to the dish.
Yet again this recipe comes from one of my favourite books: Hot & Spicy Cooking: Exciting Ideas for Delicious Meals with recipes by Judith Ferguson, Lalita Ahmed and Carolyn Garner. The finished meat was spicy and fragrant but not especially hot. I used ready made tamarind paste in place of soaking and preparing tamarind pods (although the sourness of lemon juice would give a similar flavour). Now I know we like the recipe I may see if I can find some Indonesian Soy Sauce, Kekap Manis, but the first time I used a combination of dark soy sauce and dark brown sugar. The only other change to the recipe was to thread the marinaded meat alternately with cherry tomatoes, cubes of yellow or orange pepper and green pepper or slices of pre-blanched courgette. This gave extra colour and a healthier dish: anyway I love grilled vegetables in kebabs. I grilled my skewers of meat but they would be ideal cooked on a barbecue. A piece of meat and one or two small pieces of vegetable combined on a cocktail stick would also make a good starter or buffet dish.
Tamarind Chicken Satay
(Serves 4, 6 if using vegetables as well as meat)
4 chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cut into 1.25cm cubes
Cherry tomatoes, sliced courgette & yellow/orange pepper (optional)
1tbsp sunflower oil
5cm piece tamarind, soaked in 100ml hot water
2tsp tamarind paste
Juice of 2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1tsp ground cardamom
½tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon kekap manis sweet soy sauce
1tsp dark soy sauce and
½tsp dark brown sugar or jaggery
Tomato & Chilli Sambal
1 red chilli pepper (for less heat remove the seeds and/or reduce the amount/size of chilli)
1 small piece fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed & finely chopped
450g/1lb fresh tomatoes, peeled & seeded
4 tbsps oil
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
Salt & pepper
1. Put the pieces of chicken in a large bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour them over the chicken. Stir well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but longer if possible.
2. Soak the skewers in a bowl of water. This prevents them from burning: especially important if barbecuing.
3. Grind the chillis, ginger and garlic together in a food processor or using a pestle and mortar. Chop the tomatoes coarsely, use the food processor if available and blend them into the chili mixture.
4. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Fry the tomato mixture for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. To prevent sticking, add the lemon or lime juice and a spoonful of water, if the sauce starts to become too thick.
5. Stir in the sugar and season to taste.
6. If using vegetables as well as chicken cut each into similarly sized pieces, allowing the same number of pieces for each portion. If using courgette the pieces need to be blanched: pour over boiling water and leave for 5 minutes, before plunging into cold water or cook for 1-2 minutes in a microwave oven.
7. Thread the marinated chicken cubes onto thin wooden skewers. If using vegetables as well then alternate the chicken with the vegetable pieces, using each colour of vegetable in turn.
8. Brush the threaded kebab with any remaining marinade supplemented with a little extra oil if necessary.
9. Preheat the grill and cook the chicken gently, turning frequently, until golden brown. This should take 5-8 minutes. Continue to brush the chicken with the remaining marinade during cooking.
10. Serve with Boiled Jasmine Rice. Peas and salad can be served as an accompaniment but if serving chicken and vegetable skewers a small side salad should suffice.