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Chicken Satay with Pineapple Relish
October 10, 2009  |  Recipes

Peanuts are one of the most important crops in Senegal, amounting to more than ten percent of export earnings. But of course they are not all exported. If you are ever a little hungry in Dakar, you are probably within 50 meters of a woman with a little wooden table selling bags of peanuts for 25 francs. I must have eaten a kilogram a week for the first few months I was there.

This is another recipe born of Thiebouchef (peanut, naturally). It’s a little complicated because it involves making everything from scratch, but for a somewhat quicker version you can use canned stock, boneless chicken thighs, and store-bought flatbread. (I think naan would be very good.)

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken leg quarters
  • 18 bamboo skewers

Ingredients for marinade

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Syrup from one can of diced pineapple (reserve the pineapple for later)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil

Ingredients for satay sauce

  • 3 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter (If you are in senegal you can buy three tablespoons of p√Ęte d’arachide in a little plastic bag from your nearest market.)
  • 1 small onion diced very fine (Once again, I prefer the local senegalese red onions, but any will do.)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (See Recipe Below)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil

Ingredients for pineapple relish

  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts
  • 2 cans of pineapple chunks in light syrup
  • 2 onions, diced medium
  • 1 habanero chili
  • 1 tsp raz el hanout
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil

Ingredients for peanut chapati

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • water
  • Peanut oil for frying

Ingredients for simple chicken stock

  • Bones from 6 leg quarters
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 medium onion
  • A few peppercorns

The first step is to make the marinade for the chicken. Combine all the ingredients in a wide flat dish large enough to allow the skewers to lie flat with the chicken submerged.

Now it is time for the messy part: debone the chicken and slice it into strips. I’d never done this before, and it turns out to be a huge amount of work, especially with the fairly scrawny senegalese chickens. Be careful when deboning the drumsticks to remove the tough tendons. Each leg quarter should provide enough meat for three skewers. Try to use both thigh and drumstick meat in every skewer. As you finish each skewer, add it to the dish with the marinade.

Once the skewers are finished, put the dish in the fridge and place the chicken bones into a medium sized pot along with the other stock ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low for 45 minutes. Don’t let it boil! This is a very simple stock, but feel free to add some carroy and celery if you have it handy.

While the stock is simmering you have some time to make the chapati dough. Mix the flour, salt, and peanut butter together, and add just enough water to let it come together into a very stiff dough. Knead for 15 minutes and set aside to rest for 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile heat the oven to 240C with a metal baking pan inside. Mix the pineapple, onion, ginger, and 2 tbsp of peanut oil in a bowl, and transfer to the hot baking pan. Roast until the onion has just begun to burn, about 45 minutes. While the pineapple and onion are roasting, roast the habanero over the burner on a fork until it has completely blackened. Be careful, the steam can make your eyes hurt! Set the pepper aside to cool and combine the raw peanuts with the raz el hanout and remaining peanut oil in a small frying pan. Cook over high heat until the peanuts start to crackle and pop, then set aside in a bowl to cool.

Now it’s time for the satay sauce. Turn off the chicken stock and strain into a bowl. In the small frying pan you used a moment ago to roast the peanuts, combine the peanut oil and onion, and fry over medium heat until the onion just starts to change color. Add all the remaining satay ingredients except for the lime juice and stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and add the lime juice.

Divide the chapati dough into 18 portions and place a large frying pan over high heat. Roll out the dough very thin, and fry for 1 minute a side (or until golden brown) in a small amount of peanut oil. If they do not puff up, you may need to raise the heat. Wrap the finished chapati in a clean cloth to stay warm.

Remove the onion and pineapple from the oven and combine with the roasted habanero chili. Chop the mixture until it is quite fine. Add the toasted peanuts.

Remove the skewers of chicken from the marinade and grill (preferable) or fry (also very good) until cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Place in the large frying pan over high heat and toss with the satay sauce until they are thoroughly coated.

Serve! Eat by wrapping the chicken in one of the chapatis and removing the skewer. Then add a spoonfull of the pineapple relish and enjoy!


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