A Taste of Thailand: A Recipe for Grilled Turkey Satay Skewers From Celebrated Chef Nuit Regular
If you’re craving the vibrant flavours of Northern Thai cuisine, try chef Nuit’s recipe for turkey satay — certain to level up your grilling game. Photo: Courtesy of Canadian Turkey
Nuit Regular, executive chef and co-owner of popular Toronto food joints Pai, Sabai Sabai, Sukhothai and Kiin, built her business by filling a niche for authentic Thai cuisine and street dishes.
The former nurse from Pai in Northern Thailand used her family’s recipes to launch her first restaurant, and there’s been no stopping her since. She’s picked up several prestigious awards, including the government of Thailand’s Thai Select Signature designation for authenticity. Her restaurant Pai, has been recognized by NOW magazine as one of Toronto’s best restaurants.
Adding to an impressive CV, chef Nuit’s book Kiin: Recipes and Stories from Northern Thailand was named a top cookbook of 2020 by the Globe & Mail and National Post. She is also a judge on Food Network Canada’s Wall of Chefs.
If you’re craving the vibrant flavours of Northern Thai cuisine, try Chef Nuit’s recipe for turkey satay — certain to level up your grilling game — but first a few culinary tips from the celebrated chef.
A Better Barbecue: What are your top grilling tips?
For this recipe (below), I like to use turkey thighs because they a bit more forgiving on the grill and will be more moist, tender and flavourful than breast meat. I also like to baste my turkey with coconut milk while it’s grilling to help keep it moist and juicy.
Insider Tips: Can you share your favourite flavour boosters — and any other secret weapons?
Lemongrass and Thai curry paste are two of my favourite flavour boosters. They just add so much flavour to anything you’re cooking or grilling!
Easy Entertaining: What is your go-to dish for cooking/entertaining without the stress?
Papaya salad. It’s such a quick and easy salad with all the flavours I love — sweet, sour, spicy and salty. Every time I make this dish using my mortar and pestle, it immediately transports me back home to Thailand and I feel so connected to my family and my culture. I just love making a big bowl of this salad, setting it out and watching as everyone goes crazy over it.
Must-Haves: What items/ingredients do you keep stocked in your pantry/fridge?
I keep a lot of staple Thai ingredients in my pantry, like Thai fish sauce, Thai oyster sauce, thin soy sauce and Thai shrimp paste. And always, Thai garlic and chillies in the fridge.
Taking Comfort: What is your go-to comfort food dish?
My go-to comfort food is Kanom Jin, a Northern Thai rice vermicelli noodle soup dish. It is so simple but so flavourful and comforting. It reminds me of my mom every time I make it.
Snack Attack: What is your favourite snack, healthy and otherwise?
I don’t really snack! I usually just have my meals and I’ll taste as I’m cooking in the kitchen — I guess those “tastings” are my snacks!
Multi-Generational: Favourite dishes to cook with kids
I love making papaya salad with my kids. It’s a super easy dish to prepare and allows them to get involved with the making of it. I like to teach them how to use the mortar and pestle, which is what we traditionally use in Thailand to make the salad. I think the kids have a lot of fun pounding the different ingredients.
Grilled Thai Turkey Satay Skewers (Gai Nuang Satay)
Serves: Makes 10-12 skewers
Prep time: 10 minutes + overnight marinating + 30 minutes soaking time Cooking Time: 18 minutes
For the Satay Marinade
1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
¼ cup thinly sliced lemongrass
¼ cup cilantro stems, thinly sliced
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp turmeric powder
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp tapioca starch
1 ½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp evaporated milk
1 tbsp + 1 ½ teaspoons thin soy sauce
1 tbsp + 1 ½ teaspoons Thai oyster sauce
1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil + extra for grilling
1 ½ lb / 675 g skinless, boneless turkey thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
½ cup well-shaken coconut milk, for brushing
Peanut sauce, for serving (recipe follows)
12 x 6-inch bamboo skewers
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp Thai fish sauce
¾ cup chunky peanut butter
For the Marinade and Skewers
1. In a mini food processor, pulse the coriander seeds until coarsely ground. Add the lemongrass, cilantro stem and water and pulse until finely chopped.
2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the remaining satay marinade ingredients. Stir to combine well. Add the turkey pieces and toss to coat well with the sauce. Make sure the turkey is fully coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour to overnight.
3. Soak 12 (6-inch) bamboo skewers in cold water for at least 30 minutes.
4. Thread the marinated turkey onto one half of each skewer and set aside.
5. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat. Brush the grill with a little extra oil to prevent the turkey skewers from sticking to the grill.
6. Place the turkey skewers on the grill and cook until it begins to char, about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and brush the other side with coconut milk when the turkey starts to dry out, cooking for another 6 to 8 minutes, until a nice char appears and the internal temperature reaches 165 F.
7. Serve with peanut sauce.
For the Peanut Sauce
1. In a small bowl, add the curry paste and curry powder. Stir to combine well and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the curry paste mixture and stir to combine well. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Turn off the heat. Add the brown sugar, thin soy sauce, and fish sauce and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the peanut butter and stir to combine well.
4. Serve with satay skewers.
Recipe courtesy of Canadian Turkey
A version of this story was originally published on Aug. 9, 2022