Saturday, October 25, 2008

BBQ Southeast Asian Style

Let's just begin by saying I have had bad experiences making satay. I followed all the tips regarding the skewer sticks, but they still smoked horrendously in the oven (I don't have a BBQ grill), thereby triggering an annoying persistent ear-piercing wail of the smoke alarm. I even soaked the wooden skewers overnight, yet they were still burnt.

Fortunately, my love or rather desire, for satay was too high for me to abandon trying to make it altogether, and I tried again, but instead of threading marinated beef slices onto the soaked skewers, I endured the ordeal of deboning whole chickens and chicken drumsticks to make chicken satay. Of course, I had to google the recipe for it, for making satay has obviously not been my strong point. Alhamdulillah, I stumbled upon this Chicken Satay recipe from Rasa Malaysia, which I find pleasantly simple and true to taste.

As I arranged my chicken-threaded skewers on my aluminum foil-lined broiling pan, I made dua the skewers wouldn't burn again. I put the oven on bake for about 350 Fahrenheit until the chicken pieces looked cooked, then turned it on to broil until they were somewhat burnt to a dark brown crisp.

Allahu Akbar! The skewers didn't burn, because the chicken pieces did not take too long to cook, unlike beef, and the skewers managed to withstand the heat of the oven. Now, if we're talking about grilling these satay on an outdoor grill, like the satay sellers do, beef satay would probably be a cinch to make!

Though for my next intended try in making beef satay, I am thinking that I should boil the beef pieces first till tender, marinate them, thread them on the skewers and then grill them. I have a Satay Padang (a Sumatran satay I'm also used to eating growing up, particularly because my father is originally from Sumatra) recipe lying in wait to be tried, which is also allergy free (well, with regards to wheat, gluten, eggs, dairy, and peanut).

Malaysian satay are usually accompanied by peanut sauce (recipe from Rasa Malaysia), which I didn't make because of my toddler's peanut allergy, so I simply devoured my first successful chicken satay, 'dipless'. What a blessing it was, nevertheless! Alhamdulillah.

Because of my tot's allergy, I omitted the soy sauce and oyster sauce from the original recipe, but it still tasted delish!

Satay Ayam (Chicken Satay)


Deboned chicken legs, cut into roughly 2 x 1 in pieces (big enough to thread on the skewer, you can also cut them into a long strip 1 1/2 in wide and simple weave the skewer through the whole length of the chicken strip)

Spice Paste:

1 tsp of ground coriander
2 stalks lemon grass **
6 shallots/ 1 medium-large sized onion (peeled)
2 cloves garlic (peeled)
4 Tbs of cooking oil
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sugar/ 1/2 tsp honey
Bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 2 hours to avoid burning)

1. Blend the spice paste ingredients or process in food processor
2. Marinate the chicken pieces with spice paste for 10-12 hours
3. Thread the chicken meat onto the skewers
4. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit
5. Line a broiling pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease with oil
6. Arrange the satay sticks already threaded with chicken pieces on pan
7. Brush the chicken meat with oil
8. Bake for about 10 minutes, flipping them over after 5 minutes
9. If it looks done, broil for about 2-3 minutes each side, or until they're browned slightly

Cook's Notes:

  • When threading the chicken meat, make sure the skewer pierces through the meatiest part of the meat, otherwise the the meat pieces might fall off the skewers!

  • If you have a grill, by all means, grill them!

  • If you do, don't brush oil on them, because they already have oil in the marinade

  • When you grill them, be careful to extend the unfilled part of the skewers outside of the grilling bars so they don't get burned

  • If they are marinade left over, use it to saute some vegetables in so as to avoid wastage

  • You can eat them like the Malaysians do (dipped in spicy chunky peanut sauce, along with cubed rice cakes, and fresh wedges of cucumber), or like the Americans do (just like that, like BBQ meats)

  • Try to use the dark meat of the chicken (legs), because the white meat (breasts) tend to get dry

  • **Lemon grass stalks can be found at some grocery stores, and Asian grocery stores.

  • Sometimes they're sold frozen, already shredded. You can use this too for simplicity.

  • They're even sold in powder form, but of course this is less fresh.

  • Don't use the whole length, only use 5-6 inches of the bottom part (cut off the remaining root base).

  • When you blend or process them, they will be shredded. Don't be afraid if you hear some roaring in your blender.

  • I usually buy a lot of them, chop off the top part, and store them in my freezer for longer shelf life.

  • Lemon grass provides a tangy taste and fragrance to the cooked food.

* How to debone a chicken: (a very sharp knife makes a LOT of difference!)

Satay Wiki, if you wish to know more about it.

The next time you're having a BBQ, you may want to give it a Southeast Asian twist!


  1. yummy! Nadia, how exactly do you eat it? Slide it off, and then eat it?

    Man I'm running out of spices, I need to pay a visit to the local Indian grocery!

  2. Juli, dude, I love you!! Jazaki Allahu khayran :D

  3. anon,

    Ahh i should have mentioned how to eat it LOL...

    you basically go 'wild' and bite on it while it's still on the skewer, slide it off like the scots eat their meat off their knives LOL. well if you have the sauce you'd dip it in the sauce and slide it off the skewer with your teeth! or if you want to be prim and proper you can definitely slide it off with your fingers and dip it in the sauce and eat it :)


    wa iyyak..thanks to your request :)

  4. mmmm looks yummy..rasa malaysia ...she has everything int here!!...when on earth did u find the time to do this???

    O that is xactly the slide show that I was trying to download!!!!! can u do it for me dear???

  5. mummy, hala did that one...i'll find out.

    LOL, I did this in Ramadan or before I think. Sat atthe kitchen table and deboned chicken drumsticks with Sakinah with a blunt knife LOL...not doing that again for a loooong time!

  6. If you make satay or kebabs often enough, it might be worthwhile (and greener) investing in a set of reusable metal skewers. Just remember to wear mitts when picking them up!

  7. Wowwww.. masyaAllah satay!! I want one please.. so mouth watering..

  8. The slide was pretty easy! (esp if I did it :) Just click on the slide and you will be taken to the site- from there you can register and easily upload your images.

  9. Juli, where would one buy skewers?

  10. assalamualaikum ! was blog hopping...mashallah that looks so mouth watering. How nice if i could have those with some ketupat and peanut sauce. yumz !!