Chat Mingkwan learned to cook as a small boy in the kitchen at home in Thailand. He learned western cooking as an apprentice in provincial France, and then came to the US where he offered his French cooking always with a twist of Thai or perfected his Thai cooking with a hint of French techniques to fit the western kitchen. He’s now doing what he likes most: cooking, teaching, traveling, writing, and making sure that people who come in contact with him have a full stomach and a good time. Chat has written several cookbooks including Buddha’s Table, Vietnamese Fusion and Asian Fusion. He was a presenter at Seattle’s Vegfest this year (2015).
Indonesian Mushroom Skewers Satay
Makes 12-16 pieces, Serves 6
Indonesia is well known for its food on skewers-satay, which is a cooking technique brought along by Arab traders from their kabob. A variety of ingredients that can be cut up, marinated, and skewered are destined to be satay. Satay can be found anywhere in Indonesia at home cooking, high-end restaurants, and street vendors. On the streets, one can just follow the BBQ aroma in the air or just trail the smoke from wood burning grills to easily find the satays.
1 pound portabello mushrooms
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
2 stalks finely minced lemongrass, tender midsection only (½ cup)
2 tablespoons finely minced green onions
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 package bamboo sticks (skewers)
Vegetable oil for brushing
Slice the mushrooms into ½-inch thick, long strips, using only the caps of the mushrooms. Skewer each piece with a bamboo stick, threading the stick through the mushrooms.
Combine the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and green onions. Rub the marinade mixture all over the mushrooms, making sure that all mushroom surfaces are covered. Sprinkle the mushrooms with ground pepper and salt. Arrange and stack the mushrooms in a tray and sprinkle lightly with vegetable oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate overnight in a refrigerator or at least 1 hour at room temperature.
Heat a grill pan or prepare a charcoal grill 30 minutes in advance to get a medium heat. Grill the mushrooms, turning occasionally, until done about 2-4 minutes. Brush the mushrooms lightly with oil to make them moist. Serve the mushrooms with the sauce.
Sweet Soy Sauce (Makes 1 cup)
1/3 cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon chili paste sambal olek, more or less to taste
Combine the soy sauce and sugar in a small pot over medium heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix well. If the sauce is too thick, add some water.