In south-east Asia, vendors are well aware it’s the sizzle and smell of outdoor snacks like these satays that make them so appealing. They are equally good made with pork fillet. The peanut sauce makes about 1½ cups/375 ml to serve 4-6 people.

Serves 4-6
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ¼ lb/550 g)
For the marinade:
2 lemon grass stems or 2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1.25-cm/½-inch piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
For the peanut sauce:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¾ cup/100 g dry roasted peanuts
Half an onion
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried chilli pepper flakes
1 cup/250 ml hot water
12 wooden skewers; barbecue or grill

1. Cut each chicken breast into 6-8 strips, about 1 cm/3/8 in thick (when cut in strips they absorb more marinade). For the marinade: stir together all the ingredients in a bowl, add the chicken strips and mix well. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours. At the same time, fill a shallow tray with water and soak the skewers so they do not splinter or burn during cooking.

2. To finish: Heat the barbecue or grill. Drain the skewers and spear the chicken strips on each one, pleating them to and fro to form a zigzag pattern. Brush the rack with oil and add the chicken skewers. Grill the satays about 2-3 inches/5-7 cm from the heat until brown, 2-3 minutes, then turn and brown the other side, 2-3 minutes longer – the chicken should be slightly charred, but still moist inside.

3. For the peanut sauce: Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the peanuts, stirring until brown, 2-3 minutes. Put them in a processor with the onion, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, sugar and chili flakes. Purée the mixture until smooth. With the blade running, pour the hot water down the feed tube, adding enough to make a pourable sauce. Taste, adjust the seasoning and transfer to a saucepan. Heat until hand-hot and serve in individual dishes for dipping the chicken.