What’s for supper? This glorious (virtual bells ringing), Oven-roasted chicken satays cheat-sheet. Marinated in peanut butter, curry paste and coconut milk, these chicken satays are everything you’d expect from your best Thai take-out and more. With salted peanuts, of course … Extra crunch and flavour right there! Deviating slightly from the traditional ‘chicken on a skewer’ satay, this finger-licking version is oven-roasted in the peanut butter sauce. No dipping bowl required.
So what exactly is a cheat sheet, you ask? In a nutshell, it’s a simple, hands-free dinner, oven-roasted on a baking sheet. It’s the kind of dish you’d want to make when you’re short on time but not quite desperate enough for eggs on toast. Nothing wrong with that but why settle for breakfast fare when we could be eating this? I first heard of cheat sheets on The Food Network, the Kitchen, which in essence is really the equivalent of a tray baked supper, although cheat sheets sounds more like we’re beating the system. I’m all for midweek short cuts, especially when it involves roast chicken. Here’s what you’ll need to sign up for Cheats Club. A baking sheet with some savvy tricks up your sleeve.
There are a couple of things I really love about cheat sheets.
- Rule no 1 . There are no rules!
- Rule no 2 . Not everything out of a packet is bad.
- Rule no 3. If someone else can make a great curry paste, throw it in your trolley and run!
- Rule no 4. Crank up the heat and let the oven do the work.
A quick word on marinating. Overnight is always best as the flavours have plenty of time to get to know each other and seep right into the meat. IF however, time is not on your side, you can get away with a quick 15 minutes. As the chicken roasts, the marinade reduces and renders the most delectably sticky sauce, with dark caramel-like sticky bits on the side. Those charred bits are concentrated flavour. If I were to make kettle fry crisps, this is the flavour I’d bag – Caramelised Thai Sticky Bits. All four quintessentially Thai flavours present and accounted for – salt, sweet, sour and heat. And I’ll add to that, peanut buttery. Yum!
Roasting the chicken with the skin on prevents the meat from drying out. Whether you choose to eat the skin or prefer it without, remember, chicken skin has to be CRSIPY. For banters, replace the peanut butter with a nut butter of your choice. Cashew or macadamia nut butter would be a good. I’d serve these chicken satays with sticky rice and steamed green beans.
Oven-roasted chicken satays
- 8 free-range, bone-in chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter, smooth or chunky
- 1 heaping tablespoon Red Thai curry paste
- 3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2/3 cups coconut milk
- a handful of roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- several stems spring onions, diced
- basil (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180º C.
- For the marinade, combine the peanut butter and curry paste. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, ginger and coconut milk. Mix until smooth.
- Place the chicken in a non-metallic bowl and pour the marinade over. Cover with cling film and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes or over-night.
- Transfer the chicken (skin side down), onto a greased baking sheet and season lightly. Keep the remaining marinade aside for later.
- Roast the chicken uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces and pour the reserved marinade over.
- Turn the oven up to 200º C and roast for a further 30 minutes.
- Scatter with roasted peanuts, diced spring onions and basil. Serve with your choice of sides.