Have you Thai-d chicken with peanut sauce?

What is it people love so much about barbecues?

It’s not just the wonderful smoky taste of the food and the thrill of eating outdoors – although those are great things in themselves, as is the whole concept of eating with our fingers – there’s something nice, informal and unstuffy about it all.

Some social scientists have attempted to get a little deeper and map the attraction by claiming it all goes back to Neanderthal man who brought his hunted prey home to the wife who then fired it up then and there in the woods. Others attest to the communal nature of the barbecue where neighbours and friends all get together and have a good old chinwag and party in the back garden, beach or the local park (provided there’s no warning signs up!)

If this is the first time you’ve had your gas barbecue out this year just remember the following tips when it comes to firing it up:

  • It takes around 30 minutes for a charcoal grill to heat up
  • Always put the charcoal on the bottom of the grate and lay firelighters on top
  • The coal is ready when it has a light covering of grey ash
  • Indirect cooking takes longer than usual which will mean more fuel
  • Use a foil tray to catch drips of fat from meat which falls through the grill
  • Using a kitchen timer to remind you of how long food has been cooking in a covered grill is a very good idea
  • When it comes to barbecue try and use as many long-handed forks, knives etc as possible to save your fingers getting burned
  • Always check coals are completely extinguished when leaving a barbecue site to prevent a fire erupting – especially in a wooded area

Well, that’s enough lecturing. This weekend we plan on having some Thai Chicken Satay on the barbecue and we’re in such a good mood that we’re willing to share the recipe here with you on this blog!

First off, ingredient-wise (for up to four diners) you’ll need:

  • one medium-sized packed of skinless chicken thighs which you then cut into thin strips
  • lemongrass
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies
  • 2 inch piece root ginger
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar

The dish itself should take around an hour to prepare and just 15 minutes to cook.

  • Once you’ve cut the chicken into strips put them in a dish and lay them aside till later
  • Put the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and stir up for the marinade. You’re looking for the taste to be both salty and sweet
  • Now bring back the chicken and pour the marinade over it. Place in the fridge and leave for at least an hour (preferably overnight)
  • Prior to barbecuing thread the meat onto skewers and turn every so often until cooked (around 15 minutes)

The chicken satay can be served on its own or works equally well with rice or pasta. Enjoy!