Chicken satay in a jiffy

Grilled chicken satay served on a banana leaf with peanut sauce, sliced cucumbers and onions. (Pinterest pic)

The mere mention of chicken satay conjures up a mental picture of perfectly grilled and nicely charred chicken skewers with mouthwatering peanut sauce dip.

There are many versions and recipes from Asia, but the best satay in the world comes from Malaysia. While Thai chicken sate is tasty, it is inferior to the scrumptious and rich flavours of Malaysian chicken satay.

Chicken satay is one of the most popular and well loved Asian dish. The marinade is the most important part of the recipe and includes lots of spices and ingredients.

Pinterest pic.

Here’s an easy and authentic chicken satay recipe:


  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Turmeric powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Chilli powder
  • Salt and sugar

Traditionally, home cooks pound all the ingredients listed above with a mortar and pestle until it becomes a fine paste. Mix the meat with the marinade and refrigerate overnight; this will ensure that every piece of meat is bursting with robust flavours.


• Use a combination of chicken breast, thigh and leg. Remove the skin and cut each piece of chicken into uniform cubes.

• Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least two hours. This will prevent them from burning during the grilling process.

• This recipe serves six people and has a calorie count of 263 per serving.

• Satay is very healthy as the spices used in the marinade have a lot of nutrients and health benefits.

• Satay can be baked in the oven or pan-fried on a skillet. It will still taste delicious.

A skewer of grilled chicken satay. (Pinterest pic)

Peanut sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups dry-roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce, kicap manis
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (palm sugar preferred)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, soaked in 1/4 cup water for 15 minutes, squeeze the tamarind pulp for juice and discard the pulp

Spice paste

  • 6-8 dried red chillies, seeded and soaked in warm water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, white part only
  • 1 inch ginger (galangal preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder, (optional)


  • Crush the peanuts coarsely with a mortar and pestle or food processor and set aside.
  • Chop the spice paste ingredients and blend until fine.
  • Heat oil and fry the spice paste until aromatic.
  • Add the peanuts, tamarind juice, water, sugar, sweet soy sauce and stir thoroughly.
  • Simmer on low heat while stirring for three minutes until the peanut sauce turns smooth.
  • Serve at room temperature with the satay.

Chicken satay is best served with peanut sauce, sliced cucumber and onions. In Malaysia and Indonesia, rice cakes best known as “ketupat” cut into cubes is common, too.

This article first appeared in

Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.