Chicken satay, the beloved Southeast Asian appetizer of grilled meat skewers served with peanut sauce, served as my kids’ gateway to Thai takeout. When they were younger, I described the dish as “chicken on a stick.” As in, “who wants chicken on a stick?!??" The phrase stuck, and became so familiar I accidentally ordered “chicken on a stick” at a local Thai restaurant. It took me a few beats (while my kids laughed) to figure out why the server appeared perplexed.
“Chicken on a stick” remains one of our favorites, though these days I prefer to fire it up at home. For a quick weeknight dinner, I season boneless chicken thighs with Rib Ninja while I whisk together a creamy, spicy peanut sauce (adjust the heat to your preference). To brown the chicken evenly without drying it out, you’ll want to grill the skewers over a moderate heat. If you want to turn this appetizer into a meal, serve the skewers and a drizzle of the peanut sauce over coconut rice.
Ninja Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Makes 4 Servings
- 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1½ inch pieces
- Peanut or vegetable oil, for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Rib Ninja, plus more for garnish
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup smooth, natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- 1-2 tablespoons sambal oelek, as desired for heat
- 1 tablespoon red miso
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Fresh chopped cilantro, for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
Place the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl, drizzle with enough oil to lightly coat, season with Rib Ninja and toss to combine. Set aside to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the grill (or refrigerate up to 8 hours in advance).
Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking, and build a medium fire. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, lime juice and zest, miso, ginger, fish sauce, and honey. Whisk in ¼ cup water (or more to reach a thick, creamy consistency), and salt to taste. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl and top with a pinch of Rib Ninja.
Skewer the chicken onto skewers, dividing the meat evenly. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, grill the skewers slowly over direct heat, turning and rotating around the fire as needed, until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, top with a final sprinkling of salt, and serve immediately with fresh chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe.
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