Thai Chicken Satay
served in Lettuce Leaves

For the chicken and marinade:

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons honey or sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Preparation:

Rinse the chicken breasts under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Cut the breasts lengthwise (with the grain) into 16 strips, each 4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick. Set aside while you prepare the marinade.

Combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, honey, garlic, and turmeric in a medium-size nonreactive bowl and whisk to blend. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss thoroughly to coat. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, 20 minutes to 2 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat the grill to high.

Weave the chicken strips lengthwise onto the skewers. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Place a folded foil strip along the front of the grill to keep bamboo skewers from burning. Arrange the sates on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until lightly browned and cooked through, 1 to 3 minutes per side (2 to 6 minutes in all).

For serving:

Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
1 head Boston lettuce, separated into leaves, rinsed, trimmed
Diced cucumber
cilantro sprigs

Transfer the sates to serving plates and serve, accompanied by tiny bowls of the peanut sauce. To eat, place a sate on a lettuce leaf and top the chicken with a spoonful of the sauce and top with some cucumber and cilantro sprig, if desired; wrap the lettuce around the sate and pull out the skewer.

Thai Peanut Sauce - Makes about 1 cup

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 to 2 Thai, serrano, or jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced (for a spicier
sauce, leave the seeds in)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and minced
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut milk, plus more if needed to thin the sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or soy sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
2 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Combine the ginger, chile, garlic, scallions, peanut butter, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, and the cilantro (if using) in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring well to mix, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until richly flavored, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick, but pourable; thin with coconut milk, if needed.

Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning, adding fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar as necessary; the sauce should be highly seasoned. Serve warm or at room temperature. The sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.