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In South Florida, grilling season is year round! Aside from the occasional torrential downpour or (knock wood) hurricane, it’s always a good time to fire up the grill and this is one of our favorite recipes. Chicken Sate with Cucumber Avocado Relish. It’s also got a chunky peanut dipping sauce that is lick your lips good!
For this recipe, there are a few things I like to make ahead. The dipping sauce, for one. As sublime as it is when you make it, the flavors are even better a few days later, so it’s best to assemble a day or so in advance and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to go.
Speaking of storage, I’ve recently been turned on to the New Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ food storage collection — this is their premium food storage and I can see why. Aside from this 10-piece set being perfectly crystal clear (so you can see what’s inside the container), it’s also stain resistant and the modular sizes stack beautifully for blissfully efficient fridge storage… and the little one on top, is just the right size for storing this peanut sauce for a few days! Best of all… they are “100% Leak Proof. Guaranteed.” That’s critical for me.
For this recipe, I use chicken tenders, but you could also use a chicken breast, cut into strips. There’s a tendon that runs through the chicken tender. To remove it, place the chicken, tender side down on a cutting board, hold the tendon with one hand, and slide a sharp paring knife horizontally along the tendon.
The marinade for this chicken is so aromatic, I just want to dive into the bowl. With ingredients like garlic, jalapeño, ginger, coconut milk, fish sauce and citrusy lime, you know you can’t go wrong!
Pour the marinade over the chicken tenders (not the skewers) and let them soak up those flavors for 20 minutes to an hour. I used the large Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ storage container for this. Every so often, I’d remove the chicken from the fridge and hold the container vertically (chicken side down) to give it a shake and make sure the chicken was well coated. FYI – that leakproof promise is true — I didn’t get a drop of marinade anywhere! Love that!
While the chicken marinates, I do the beginning prep on the relish. Dicing the cucumber and red onion and assembling the dressing. I wait until just before serving to add the avocado and cilantro and combine it with the dressing. That middle sized Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ storage container was the perfect size for the relish.
Now for the fun… grilling! Place a piece of tin foil on one side of the grill (this is the area where the ends of the skewers will go — so they don’t burn). Place the chicken sates on the grill and cook for 1 1/2 -2 minutes. Flip them and cook for another 1 1/2 – 2 minutes or until they’re done. Transfer to a cutting board to rest for a few minutes.
If you’ve made it in advance, the peanut sauce will solidify in the refrigerator, but no worries, just nuke it! Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ is fantastic in the microwave because it’s splatter resistant! Just leave the side vents open to heat the sauce, without the mess!
While the chicken rests, add the avocado, cilantro and dressing to the relish and get ready for an awesome dinner! The chicken is moist and flavored with spice and coconut. A drizzle of the rich peanut sauce is complimented by the tang and freshness of the cucumber avocado relish! I’m telling you, this is a flavor explosion! Cross my heart!
Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ is available nationwide at Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Amazon and other fine retailers.
Chicken Sate with Cucumber Avocado Relish
One of our favorite grilled chicken recipes (with a few of my own twists) from famed grillmeister, Steve Raichlen and his book, How To Grill.
For The Chicken Sates
- 1 pound chicken tenderloins
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 strips lemon peel without white pith (1/2 x 2 inches), minced
- 1 jalapeno or Thai chile pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
For Asian Peanut Sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (for hotter sauce, leave the seeds in)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 large shallot, minced
- 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
- juice of half a lime
- 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
For Cucumber Avocado Relish
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2" dice
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 hass avocado, peeled and diced into 1/2" pieces
- lime wedges
- bamboo skewers
Make the marinade for the chicken
In a mortar and pestle, add the sugar, garlic, minced lemon, jalapeño, coriander, turmeric and pepper. Pound and mash the combination to a fragrant paste. (If you don't have a mortar and pestle, place the sugar, garlic, lemon, jalapeño coriander, turmeric and pepper on a cutting board. Use the flat side of a chefs knife or santoku to rub and mash the combination into a paste -- the sugar acts an abrasive and the constant rubbing, will break down the ingredients.) Transfer the ingredients to a medium bowl and add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice. Set aside.
For the chicken
Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Each tender has a thick tendon that should be removed. Place the tender on a cutting board, tendon side down. Hold the tendon between your fingers and run a sharp paring knife along the tendon, keeping the blade parallel to the cutting board. Remove the tendon and discard.
Thread the chicken onto the wooden skewers, weaving back and forth. Pour the marinade over the chicken (not the skewers) and refrigerate for 20 minutes to an hour.
Make the Peanut Sauce
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic, chiles, ginger and shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the garlic and shallots are caramelized, but not burnt, another 2-3 minutes.
Add the peanut butter and cook, stirring for one minute. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce is fragrant. If the sauce is too thick (it should be pourable), add water by the tablespoon until it thins out a bit.
Taste for seasoning -- adding additional fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar as necessary. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate.
Sauce gets better after a few days so you can make this ahead of time.
For the Cucumber Avocado Relish
Place the sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in a mound on a cutting board. With the side of a chefs knife or santoku, mash the garlic into a paste, using the salt, sugar and pepper as the abrasive. Transfer to a small bowl and add the vinegar. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside.
Combine the cucumber, onion and avocado in a bowl, add the dressing and cilantro. Toss to coat.
To make ahead - combine the cucumber and onion and refrigerate. At the last minute add the avocado, dressing and cilantro.
Grill the chicken
Preheat your grill to a medium high heat, about 450°. Lay a piece of aluminum foil on one side of the grill. Place the chicken sates on the grill grates so that the "handles" rest over the aluminum foil -- this will prevent the skewers from burning and make it easier to flip.
Cook the chicken for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a serving platter.
Serve the chicken with cucumber avocado relish, a dollop of peanut sauce and extra lime wedges and cilantro.