“Do You Talk Thai?” Tamarind Lacquered Chicken Satay




Meat on a stick!

We find it at fairs, Renaissance Festivals, and the like. Add a sweet glaze and you’d be hard pressed to find a human who’d turn it down.

I’ve been making skewers, kebabs, satays, koftas, and other “sticked meats” for years. There’s just something about food on a stick that get’s people excited. If you are one who has a fetish with impaled protein, then I highly suggest making today’s recipe. I further suggest that you travel to Thailand, which is the land of tasty treats on a twig.

On my recent Culinary Adventure there, I was astonished at what I saw. They skewer everything from whole eggs in the shell to chicken butts and hot chiles. Here is one of my favorite skewer pictures of this lady who roasted nuts in a wok and had an interesting array of foods on a stick:

Here’s a closer look at her skewer selections; cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, Thai Chiles, onions and peppers. Crazy, right?

She was a woman worthy to be praised at the city gate as she woke up early, made the most of what she had, and worked into the night. While I credit myself as a hard worker, I am soft compared to her…

Here is my rendition of satay with papaya salad. It looks so sterile compared to Skewer and Nut lady above, no? While mine might look more appealing to the American Eye, I can assure you that her food tastes better!

Alright, guys. This is a big week. There are a lot of moving parts for me and I’m going to do my best to manage them with tenacity. I hope you had a restful weekend and that you have a Paleo Bank Account stocked to the hilt.

When you get busy, the number one thing you can do to manage the stress, is to eat properly. However, many of us, me included, stress eat, which is opposite of what we should do. So, be prepared, practice self-control and discipline, and when things get heavy, do your best to…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(Rocking it with the fam up in “No Cell Phone” territory at Sardine Lake in the high Sierras. Yesterday. I cannot tell you how much my family means to me and how healthy going “off the grid” is for a guy like me. When I am at home, I always have the desktop, laptop, iPad and cell phone taunting me into doing more work. Leaving these things behind and getting out into nature is like medicine to me.)

Tamarind Lacquered Chicken Satay

Ingredient List:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips the long way
  • As many skewers as strips of chicken, soaked in water for 1 hour.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh shallot, minced
  • ½ Serrano chile, minced
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, I use Red Boat brand.
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves, stem removed, roll and chiffonade as finely as possible (optional) You can also use cilantro as garnish if you can’t find lime leaves.
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind puree for marinade and extra for lacquering (see recipe below)

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except lime leaves and mix well to incorporate. Allow chicken to marinate for a minimum of one hour and up to two days.
  2. Weave and bob your chicken onto the skewers however you see fit. You can do the “zig-zag”, the “straight poke” or the “over-under”.
  3. Place skewers on the grill being careful to keep the flame from the exposed bamboo. You can make a shield on your grill with a piece of foil if you’d like. Do this by placing a strip of foil in the area where the skewer handles are. This will block the flame from burning the sticks.
  4. Turn the chicken 2-3 times and begin lacquering with tamarind puree after the first turn.
  5. When the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, remove it from the grill, garnish with lime leaf chiffonade and serve!

Tamarind Puree

  • ¼ cup seedless tamarind pulp
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Water, as needed
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Combine tamarind, lime juice and approximately 1 cup of water in your blender and let it rip! It will take a minute or two to break down the tamarind and allow the water to do it’s job. You are going for the consistency of a thin smoothie, a little looser than pancake batter.
  2. Add water or tamarind as necessary to achieve the correct consistency.
  3. Season with kosher salt until it is palatable as a sour/salty/slightly sweet condiment.
  4. Boom!

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

Proteins: (12)

Before cooking, we have 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, which after cooking will cook down to about 12 oz, and with chicken measuring about 1 block per oz that gives us 12 protein blocks from the chicken.

Carbohydrates: (2)

We are using minimal carbohydrates in this recipe.  We are going to count the shallots and chile as 1 block together.  We are also going to use 2 tablespoons of the tamarind puree. The puree will give us an additional 1 block.

Puree alone: (2C)

The puree is all carbs.  We are using 1/4 of a cup of the seedless tamarind pulp.  We know that 14g gives us one block, and one cup weighs about 120g, so one 1/4 of a cup equals 30g, or 2 blocks.

Balancing Act:

We have pretty much all protein from this recipe, so use this to add to a carb intensive recipe you are using.  We have 12 protein blocks flavored with the 2 carb blocks.  You can break the chicken into 3 4-block meals and find 4 tasty carbs and fats to add to it.


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