Friday, September 10, 2010

Chicken Saté over Basmati Rice

A good friend of mine asked me this past weekend about cooking "out of the box".  Making something that you just don't see on a regular bases but is appealing and looks Yummy to eat.  After thinking about it for a few moments, I realized that this is truly a challenging question.  Cooking "out of the box" can be interpreted in quite a few ways.  Make an Entree' that has exotic ingredients?  Make an Entree' that's from another country and isn't commonly seen in the states?  Make an Entree' that looks like a Salvador Dali creation?  So many directions, so little time.  I found this question quite appealing and most importantly, FUN and challenging.  Mainly because, an Apple can be common place to you and I and totally foreign to someone else.  You just never know what people have experienced in there lives and travels.

Wyoming can be a bit challenging to find those "out of the box" experiences.  I know allot of locals delight in new dishes from Asian Cuisine here in Lander.  I haven't had the pleasure of eating there as yet, but I know, and have cooked with the owner in years past, and he has never ran short of creative ideas and dishes.

Which brings me to the recipe of choice to meet this challenge posed by my good friend Marilyn.  I picked a dish I use to prepare over and over when I was a grill chef.  I have changed it quite a bit over they years to remove elements that were not to my liking and added things that I felt made the dish more Exotic, but yet not scary for the eater. 

Chicken Saté over Basmati Rice

12 (12-inch) Sugar Cane skewers
1 English (seedless) cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Thai green curry paste
1/4 cup well-stirred unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup well-stirred unsweetened coconut milk
4 medium (about 1 1/4 pounds) skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves , each cut diagonally into 6 strips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp packed dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno chile, seeds and membrane discarded, minced
2 cups Basmati Rice
4 cups water for Rice
Garnish Items:
Cilantro leaves (picked from stems for garnish)
sesame seeds (for garnish)

Prep: There is quite a bit of prepping to do.
Place skewers in water so they are totally covered; let soak at least 1 hour.   While skewers are soaking, in medium bowl, toss cucumber with salt; let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.

In another medium bowl, stir curry paste and 1/4 cup coconut milk until combined. Add chicken and turn to coat. Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Preheat gas grill for grilling. Your goal is medium heat.

Prepare Peanut Sauce

In small bowl, with wire whisk, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ground red pepper, remaining 1/3 cup coconut milk, and 4 tablespoons hot water until blended and smooth.  You are shooting for a loose sauce, so you may need to adjust with a little more coconut milk.  I've made this hundreds of times and even though I've followed the measurements to the letter it always seem to need adjustments.
Drain cucumbers, discarding liquid in bowl. Pat cucumber dry with paper towels. Return cucumber to bowl; stir in vinegar, granulated sugar, shallots, and jalapeno; refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thread 2 chicken strips on each skewer, accordion-style; discard marinade. Return to fridge until ready to grill

Prepping Basmati Rice:

First, wash the rice by putting it in a large bowl and filling it with cold water. Let the rice settle to the bottom and then pour off the water, which will be cloudy. Repeat until the water runs clear.

Next, soak the rice in the 4 cups of water. Allow the rice to soak for 1/2 hour and then drain, reserving the water for cooking.

Cooking Basmati Rice:

Place the reserved water into a large, heavy-bottomed pan with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a boil. Add the soaked rice and stir carefully with a narrow stirring implement (so that the rice is not crushed) until the water comes to a second boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until most of the water is absorbed, about 10 to15 minutes. Cover the pan tightly and reduce heat to lowest possible level and let rice steam for 10 minutes.

Off to the Grill:

Preheat gas grill for grilling. Your goal is medium heat.

Place skewers on hot grill rack. Cover grill and cook 5 to 8 minutes or just until chicken loses its pink color throughout, turning skewers over once.

Assembling your Dish:

In a large bowl place your cooked Basmati rice in the bottom, leaving room for your veggies and your chicken.  Add your veggies on the top of your rice.  Place your skewers of chicken in bowl in a tee pee fashion. Next pour the peanut sauce very slowly over the skewers of chicken making sure to evenly coat both the chicken, veggies and rice.

Garnish 1st with your sesame seeds by sprinkling over the entire bowl and skewers, but not to heavily.  Next and finally, finish off with your Cilantro leaves by gently sprinkling the leave over the skewers so they fall like leaves.

I feel this dish meets the request for something "out of the box".  It has a strong Indonesian theme but yet has familiar but a little exotic items that wont scare people from wanting to have a taste.  I know this dish has been eaten by locals, mainly because I've made a version of this for them many times.  They have always enjoyed it and have returned to eat it time and time again.  Now my friends, you can make this at home yourself.  Change it to meet your yearnings and favorite tastes.  I know I did and I hope you do.


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