Barbecue Satay Chicken Thighs
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  • Portion/Yield:

    Serves 6 as a lunch or supper
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Coming from a nation which takes barbecuing seriously, we would not normally choose to cook burgers and sausages on the barbecue. I was brought up with whole fish, steaks, chicken and lamb cooked on the barbecue (and even whole slabs of pork belly barbecued slowly until mouth-wateringly tender).

The key to the success of a good barbecue depends on several factors, one is the weather, two is the company or occasion, three is the marinade and four (for my father at least) it’s the actual barbecue. My father only believed in a real fire (not gas), so he would light the barbecue at least an hour before he started cooking, then when the barbecue was ready, he would methodically work his way through the variety of meat my mother had marinated. For my family, hosting a barbecue was a special occasion and a lot of effort was put into everything – the food, drinks, entertainment and even the garden furniture – it was a lovely event to be a part of.

Every family has their own secret marinade recipes, and for this particular recipe I have made a satay marinade. I like chicken cooked on the barbecue but I do not really like breast meat as it dries out too much. As leg meat is my preferred choice, I have removed the bones from these thighs and, once marinated, the thighs are skewered with two skewers each – this is so that it’s easier to manage them and ensure the meat is cooked evenly all the way through. There is nothing worse than a bit of raw chicken! If the weather is not quite playing along, you can also cook these satay chicken thighs in a preheated oven at 200°C/Gas Mark 6 for 22–25 minutes.

photo of Barbecue Satay Chicken Thighs

Ingredients & Method

  • 60g crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • a pinch of ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon dessicated coconut
  • 100g natural yogurt
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, skin on (about 1kg total weight)
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • fresh herb sprigs (such as rosemary), to garnish (optional)

Preheat the barbecue to medium-hot. Soak 12 long wooden skewers in cold water for about 30 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, for the marinade, place all the ingredients, except the chicken thighs and nigella seeds, in a blender, add some salt and pepper and pulse blend to mix. Put the chicken thighs in a shallow dish, pour over the marinade and turn to coat the chicken all over. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes (see Cook’s Note).

Lay the marinated chicken pieces flat on a chopping board. Using two skewers, thread one flattened chicken thigh onto each pair of skewers (one skewer either side of the chicken), so the chicken stays flat and cooks evenly. Repeat to make 6 chicken skewers. Sprinkle the nigella seeds over the skewered thighs.

Cook the chicken over a medium-hot barbecue for 20–25 minutes, until cooked all the way through, turning the skewers regularly to ensure even browning. Remove from the heat, cover with foil and leave the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with herb sprigs, if you like, and serve with salad.

Cook’s Note

The chicken thighs can be left to marinate in the fridge overnight and then barbecued the next day.