I used to make my own soy syrup, but it was very delicate and had a tendency to break like an aioli. But one day my Indonesian sous chef Budi introduced me to Kechap Manis, a great sweet soy syrup from his country. I said, "Wow, Budi, you just saved me a lot of steps!" And now I use Kechap Manis all the time as a base for glazes and sauces... like my Black Pepper-Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Satays, a terrific grilled appetizer you can serve any time you're looking for tasty finger food. Serves 4 as an appetizer
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
2/3 cup kechap manis
2 oranges, zested and juiced, minced zest for garnish
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 bunch scallions sliced thinly, separate white and green
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Assemble satays by alternating chicken and pineapple. In a large bowl, combine kechap manis, orange juice, ginger, black pepper and scallion whites. Add satays and marinate for 15 minutes.
Prepare a hot grill, sprayed slick. Remove satays from marinade, reserving marinade. Grill satays until chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, boil marinade for a dipping sauce and use some of it to brush onto satays while cooking.
Serve in bamboo satay plate with dipping sauce garnished with scallion greens.
Garnish satays with orange zest and scallion greens.
Ming Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming.