by Wolfgang Puck
A quick and easy app(etizer) from the grill
Having lived in Austria, France, and the United States, and traveled, cooked, and eaten all over the world, I love languages and I enjoy playing with words. So, it amuses me that a shortened nickname chefs and enthusiastic home cooks often use for the first course of a meal — “app” in place of “appetizer” — has in recent years also become the term widely used for those ingenious little computer programs that make it possible for everyone to perform so many different tasks on our smartphones and tablet computers.
It may surprise you to know that edible apps and digital apps do have some important things in common (and not just the fact that I even have my own free home cooking recipe app, available through my website). Both kinds of apps at their best are about ease, convenience, speed, and pleasure they aim to give you exactly what you want when you want it.
That’s certainly true of the app recipe I share with you here today. It’s a perfect way to kick off a summertime outdoor dinner party: Curried Chicken Satay with Fresh Mint-Soy Dipping Sauce. (Satay, by the way, is a common Southeast Asian term for any small grilled skewers of thinly sliced, marinated meat, poultry, or seafood.)
Like many great apps, this one features common supermarket ingredients and takes just moments to put together. It’s also especially convenient for a party because you can prep it an hour or more ahead of time, leaving it to marinate in the refrigerator. And the lively taste of the curry powder (use a milder or hotter blend, as you and your guests are likely to prefer) — complemented by an easy dipping sauce refreshingly flavored with fresh mint leaves and a hint of coriander — will perk up everyone’s appetites without being too filling.
Better yet, the skewers of chicken cook quickly — just 4 minutes, 2 minutes per side, on the grill — because the chicken is cut into thin strips. So, once your fire is hot, in moments you’ll have something delicious ready for your guests to enjoy while the larger main-dish items cook.
The only special preparation tip I need to share is about the skewers themselves. If you have enough small metal skewers, they will work fine. But, because the recipe requires two dozen skewers, I recommend simply picking up a package of widely sold wooden or bamboo skewers. If you use these, however, you should soak them in water before use to help prevent them from burning.
So, go ahead, invite your friends, fire up the grill, and enjoy this recipe. It’s one great app you won’t have to download to enjoy!
CURRIED CHICKEN SATAY WITH FRESH MINT-SOY DIPPING SAUCE
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
MINT-SOY DIPPING SAUCE:
2 large cage-free egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup regular or roasted peanut
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Soak two dozen 6-inch bamboo or wooden skewers in water for 30 to 60 minutes. With a sharp knife, cut each chicken breast lengthwise into 12 long, thin strips. Thread 1 strip onto each of the skewers, weaving the skewer back and forth along the length of each chicken strip. Arrange the skewers on a large platter or baking tray.
In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, pepper, salt, and cumin. Drizzle the oil over the chicken strips, turning to coat them evenly, and then evenly sprinkle the curry powder mixture over them on both sides. Cover the platter or tray with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
For the dipping sauce, in a food processor fitted with the stainlesssteel blade or a blender, put the egg yolks, vinegar, mint, soy sauce, and coriander. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil and continue processing until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Prepare a fire in an outdoor grill; or preheat a hinged indoor grill or panini maker, a stovetop grill pan, or a broiler. Grill the skewers, in batches if necessary, until cooked through and nicely browned, about 2 minutes per side on the outdoor grill, in a grill pan, or under the broiler, or 2 minutes total on a hinged grill or panini maker. (If using a hinged indoor grill or panini maker, take care that the skewers don’t prevent it from closing properly.
Serve the skewers immediately, passing the sauce for guests to drizzle over their own skewers or to spoon onto their plates to use as a dip.