It has happened. The best satay sauce, making this cilantro peanut chicken satay one of the tastiest dishes around, you’ll ever eat has arrived. Are you excited? You should be!
I’ve been on a sauce expedition. A good sauce can make any dish fantastic. The french have known this for decades which is why as a culinary chef you have to master the five signature sauces or else you might as well choose a different profession. I hear there’s money in mini storage ownership…
Well I know nothing about making a good hollandaise or classic white sauce, but when it comes to a satay sauce that will blow your mind, I’ve mastered that one and I can’t wait to share its secrets with you.
First of all, cilantro. Chet and I HATE cilantro; like loathe it entirely. As far as we’re concerned red onions and cilantro can go extinct and we’ll be happy. So when it came time to make this sauce that called for a half of a bunch of cilantro I was skeptical, worried and a little upset.
But you guys. All of you. The lovers and the haters of cilantro cannot pass up this sauce! There’s magic that happens inside your blender that turns cilantro into something amazing. I think part of the magic is the peanut butter.
Second of all, peanut butter. Is there anything it can’t do? It makes things creamier, nuttier, milder, richer and more flavorful. It turns plain ol’ pancakes into Oatmeal Chip Pancakes. It’s what makes crunchy cabbage and soba noodles worth devouring. And I believe it’s also what makes this cilantro heavy sauce convert a cilantro hater into a cilantro lover.
Finally, soy sauce (or amino acids). Save yourself some sodium and choose the aminos or a low sodium soy sauce, but don’t worry, you won’t be sacrificing flavor. I love me some soy sauce! It adds a salty flavor that salt could never do. When added to a sauce it gives the bold salty flavor a good sauce needs while allowing all of the other ingredients to shine through. It’s so generous and humble like that. Try adding it to salad dressings and other homemade sauces like my new favorite Stir Fry sauce from scratch!
[BTW: Raw chicken is not pretty. But raw chicken covered in magical satay sauce is Vogue worthy. So get your hands all up in that without shame or regret! (Or make your spouse do it).]
With summer time quickly approaching, it must be mentioned that this recipe works just as well as chicken skewers on the grill. Follow the same procedure, but put your chicken on skewers (be sure to soak them in water beforehand to keep them from burning if they’re wooden), smother them in the sauce and cook on the grill, 8-10 minutes on each side. You’ll lose some of the sauce on the grill, so make some extra on the side and pair with noodles or rice and wrap it all in a romaine leaf! #ilovesummer
We had some leftover soba noodles sitting in our cupboard so I used these as the base under the chicken. It was delicious, so I highly recommend it, but you can also use rice, quinoa, rice noodles or your favorite pasta.
SAVE THE EXTRA SAUCE! Scoop all that delicious warm sauce out of the pan and use it as the sauce for whatever base you chose. Splash with a little soy sauce or amino acids if you want to loosen it all up and boost the flavor. Garnish with some peanuts or extra sprigs of cilantro (I can’t believe I’m saying this)!
What to Bring to the Store
In order to reduce your packaging waste, bring a few reusable produce bags with you to the store for your various herbs and vegetables. You will also need your reusable grocery bags, because duh! Always bring them!
The only reason this cilantro peanut chicken satay recipe doesn’t get a 5 is because of the meat packaging. Unfortunately the packaging that comes around meat to keep it fresh is not recyclable or compostable and there are health code rules that keep you from being able to bring your own container to put meat into. Such is life. However, here’s what you do with the rest:
Recycle: Peanut butter jar (once emptied) or look for it in bulk!
Compost: Any herb/veggie scraps like garlic peels, fallen cilantro leaves, chile seeds and lime leftovers.
Trash: Chicken packaging.
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro
- 1 red chile, seeds and membrane removed
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1"piece of ginger root, peeled, or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 limes, juice of one, zest of both
- 1-2 tbsp water
- 2 large chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
- 1 package of rice or soba noodles (as much as you want)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Begin cooking the noodles according to package instructions.
- Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks and place inside of a 9" X 9" baking dish.
- In a food processor or high quality blender, add the cilantro (stems and leaves), red chile, garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice and zest and water. Blend until all is combined.
- Pour the satay sauce over the chicken and mix with your hands until all the chicken is coated in the sauce.
- Bake for 8 minutes, stir once, then bake for an additional 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Divide chicken and noodles evenly into bowls, using leftover sauce in the pan to coat the noodles. Top with optional cilantro and/or peanut garnish.