For the sauce
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small jalapeòo chile, halved, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce (preferably nuoc nam)
- 2 Tbsp tamarind pulp or paste
- 2 tsp honey
For the chicken
- 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, outer leaves removed, and bulb thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp Asian sesame oil
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 whole skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 3/4 pound)
- Sixteen 8-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
DIRECTIONSWarm the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and chile and cook, stirring, until the shallots are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the peanut butter, coconut milk, fish sauce, tamarind, and honey. Mix well; cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. (The sauce can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just before serving, rewarm the sauce.)
To prepare the chickenPut the coriander and fennel seeds in a small skillet and cook over medium heat, periodically shaking the pan back and forth until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Finely grind in a spice grinder. Mix with the lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, sugar, turmeric, and salt.
Pour a third of the mixture into a shallow baking dish. Cut the chicken lengthwise into sixteen 1/4-inch-thick strips and arrange them on top of the lemongrass mixture in a single layer in the dish. Pour the remaining marinade on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Gently scrape the marinade off the chicken using the back of a knife. Thread a chicken slice onto each bamboo skewer. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the chicken 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately with the peanut sauce.
The clean tropical-fruit flavors and midrange acidity of the 2001 Domaine du Clos Naudin, a Vouvray demi-sec, is soft on the palate while echoing the richness of the peanut sauce. Or the touch of sweetness offered by the German Riesling Selbach-Oster Spätlese Zeltinger Schlossberg 2001 also makes a good selection.