Satay is one of those dishes that should never be messed with. Marinated skewered bits of protein cooked over charcoal and serve alongside a creamy peanut-heavy sauce. It’s edible poetry. The earliest form of satay is thought to have come out of Javanese cuisine, but the dish is considered a staple in countless countries throughout South East Asia and beyond. Here, in North America, it graces countless appetizer menus and is recognizable to most people ages three and up. It’s not a dish to be trifled with, and yet, here we are. But to be fair, today’s take on Chicken Satay does not stray far from the original flavor profile. This Chicken Satay Rice Skillet is basically satay with fewer skewers and more carbs. And considering my BBQ is currently under a foot of snow, this is the only satay I’m capable of. So let’s get into it.
This Chicken Satay Rice Skillet starts with a marinade. Now, I would be remiss not to highlight two blogs that provided some quality guidance in this matter – RecipeTinEats and Rasa Malaysia. They also provided inspiration for the peanut sauce included in this recipe. But again, I did not grow up making or (unfortunately) eating Indonesian, Thai, or Malaysian food, so nothing about this recipe is “authentic”. I would argue that a large portion of this recipe is however delicious. But enough with disclaimers, let’s talk about this marinade.
Now, I put my marinade together in a mortar and pestle. I wish with all of my being it was a larger mortar and pestle but we work with what we got here at Rhubarb and Cod. I worked in batches, bashing my shallots, garlic, chilis, lemongrass, and cilantro stems into a paste. If this sounds too labor-intensive to you, it should because it is. Feel free to use a food processor in its place. My more photogenic food processor died on me a while ago, so now I’m taking a more lo-fi approach to cooking. Honestly, my forearms have never looked better.
Once your herbs, chilis, and alliums are good and paste-like, stream in some honey and neutral oil. Add a good amount of turmeric for that tell-tale golden hue. I found a few recipes that included curry powder here as well. But I didn’t and I don’t feel like the chicken suffered. If you would like to add curry powder, go ahead and live your truth. And that’s your marinade. Pour it over your preferred bone-in chicken pieces and give them a toss. Fair warning – your hands will be yellow after this. Consider it a badge of culinary honor. I know it’s a bummer, but the chicken is so much better when you let it hang out in the marinade for a minimum of eight hours. I tend to let mine go overnight. So yes, planning ahead is unfortunately key to this recipe’s success.
Since the chicken is stuck in marinade purgatory, this is the perfect time to pickle some veg. I like a little vinegar hit with full-flavor dishes like this. The pickles so successfully cut through the heavier flavors and give this recipe a much-needed high note. And the pickles are so simple to make. You basically pack the veg into a jar and cover it with vinegar, salt, and sugar solution. Seal it and store it in the fridge for 8 hours. Easy!
Once your chicken is ready to emerge from its marinade, everything speeds up. All you have to do is brown your chicken, saute some shallots, add your rice, broth, and peas. And pop the lot into the oven. Cook the dish covered for 30 minutes and that’s pretty much dinner. So yeah, you’re looking at a little extra planning, but essentially what we have here is an hour-long dish. It’s really not that bad and it requires no special skills. But I should mention my choice of rice because it may raise a few eyebrows.
Although I would far prefer to use Jasmine rice at a moment like this, I do find the grains don’t particularly hold their shape when cooked like this. They benefit more from the stovetop method or, better yet, a rice cooker. Have I mentioned how much I love my rice cooker? It’s an essential piece of kit for rice neglecters such as myself. But that’s beside the point. I find long grain rice is the best rice to roast in the oven. It cooks more evenly and it doesn’t turn to mush. But having said that, you could simmer the skillet on the stove and use Jasmine rice instead. Although I haven’t tested this combination of ingredient and method, I have a hunch it would work quite well. Give it a try and tell me your findings in the comments.
Now, you may have noticed I didn’t really cover the peanut sauce. Well, the sauce is so simple to make. It’s essentially stirring, so there isn’t much to write about that particular activity. And because it’s simple to make and it doesn’t have to hang out for any specific amount of time, you’re free to make it whenever makes sense to you. You could make it a day ahead along with the marinade and pickles, or you could make it while the skillet’s in the oven. It’s totally up to you.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Chicken Satay Rice Skillet with Pickled Veggie Ribbons. Simple, delicious, and easy on the dishes, this meal is a total weeknight stunner…provided you plan ahead a little.
Chicken Satay Rice Skillet with Pickled Veggie Ribbons
- 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 mortar and pestle optional
- 1 Food Processor optional (see notes)
Pickled Veggie Ribbons
- 2 medium-sized carrots cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
- 2 Persian cucumbers cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
- ½ daikon radish cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup natural crunchy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup warm water
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- 4 shallots divided
- 3 red chilies coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro stems coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- 1 ½ tbsp honey
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt divided
- 4 chicken thighs skin-on, bone-in
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 1½ cups long grain rice
- 3 cups chicken stock low or no sodium
- 1 cup frozen peas
- bean sprouts
- lime wedges
- fresh cilantro
- dry roasted peanuts
For the Veggies
- Pack the veggies into a large mason jar. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Seal the jar and store in the fridge. Let pickle for at least 8 hours.2 medium-sized carrots, 2 Persian cucumbers, ½ daikon radish, 1 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp granulated sugar, 1 tsp kosher salt
For the Peanut Sauce
- Place the peanut butter, vinegar, red curry paste, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl, whisk to combine. Fold in the coconut cream and the water. Add additional water if the sauce is too thick. Be sure to add the water in tablespoon increments so you don’t overdo it.¾ cup natural crunchy peanut butter, 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp red curry paste, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp brown sugar, ¼ cup warm water, ¼ cup coconut cream
Chicken Satay Rice Skillet
- Skin and coarsely chop 2 of the shallot and place them in a mortar or food processor ** Add the chilis, garlic, cilantro stems, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Smash the lemongrass with a mallet and remove the tough outer leaves. Finely chop the softer core and add it to the food processor or mortar as well.4 shallots, 3 red chilies, ¼ cup cilantro stems, 1 clove garlic, 1 stalk lemongrass, 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- Blitz or grind the alliums, herbs, and chilis until they form a paste. Add the oil, honey, and turmeric and mix until a cohesive mixture forms. Place the chicken parts in a large bowl and cover with the marinade. Toss until the chicken is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.¼ cup neutral oil, 1 ½ tbsp honey, 2 tsp turmeric, 4 chicken thighs, 4 chicken drumsticks
- Once the chicken is finished marinating, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown the pieces on all sides, reserve the marinade. You may have to work in batches. Once you have good color on the chicken, transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
- While the chicken is browning, peel and slice the remaining two shallots into half-moons. Once the chicken is done, add the shallots to the chicken fat along with a pinch of salt. Sauté until softened, about 2-3 minutes.4 shallots
- Stir in the rice and toss to coat. Pour the stock, the reserved marinade, and the remaining salt over the rice and add the frozen peas. Bring the mixture up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan and cover. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Take the skillet out of the oven and let stand with the cover on for 10 minutes.1½ cups long grain rice, 3 cups chicken stock, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- Fluff the rice with a fork and top the skillet with drizzle the skillet with the peanut sauce. Garnish with peanuts, pickled veggie ribbons, lime wedges, cilantro, and bean sprouts. Serve immediately.bean sprouts, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, dry roasted peanuts