Chicken Satay is the gateway drug of Thai food-once you have it, there’s no going back. Universally loved by kids and adults alike, it’s the first dish to disappear at a party. And who doesn’t love meat on a stick? With juicy chicken, a yummy peanut sauce, and the chance to eat with your hands, it’s hard to pass up. If you’ve never made chicken satay before, you will be delighted by how easy it is to recreate at home.
Marinate the Chicken First
Sometimes I order chicken satay and I’m presented with sad little sticks of dry, bland chicken. A flavorful, tenderizing marinade prevents that. The marinade also means that you can get most of the prep done the day before. This is a very simple marinade, with a short ingredient list. Use full fat coconut milk as it will help keep the chicken moist, especially if you are using breast meat.
Chicken Satay Sauce
I have tinkered with our dipping sauce over the years, because Thai peanut sauce should not taste like a peanut butter cookie. It should have way more complexity. A little tang, a little heat, lots of creamy coconut-and this one really delivers! I use masaman curry paste to provide depth. I particularly like the one from Maesri; it combines authentic Thai ingredients like lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, and tamarind. This little paste creates a deeply flavorful, multi-dimensional peanut sauce. A quick whisk brings all the ingredients together. It keeps up to a week in the fridge, so you can have the sauce made and the chicken marinating the day before, and then dinner comes together easy peasy!
While you can have everything from pork to beef to tofu satay, and satay may taste a little different in each region that makes it, one thing that satay always has in common is that it’s cooked on an open flame and served on skewers. Bamboo ones are traditional, and quite inexpensive. They do need to soak a couple hours before using, or you risk them scorching.
I prefer to use the broiler for Chicken Satay. I know a grill is traditional and the smoky taste is amazing, but have you ever tried to grill in Miami? It’s hot enough without starting a fire in the backyard! Plus, it’s easier than firing up the grill, but still gives that blast of direct heat. You can also use a grill pan.
Served with a side of perfect white rice, and maybe a quick little cucumber salad with some rice vinegar if you’re so inclined, Chicken Satay is an easy and delicious meal I know your family will love. When you try it, rate the recipe and leave a comment below. And let us see your beautiful satay Instagram pics by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen.
Want to try more Thai recipes? Check these out!
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (chicken breast is fine too)
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 24 bamboo skewers*
- 1 Tablespoon masaman curry paste
- ½ cup natural smooth peanut butter
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Lime Wedges
- Chopped peanuts
Make the marinated chicken:
- Cut the chicken into ½ inch strips and put in a bowl.
- Mix together the curry powder, sugar, turmeric, salt, ground white pepper, ½ cup of the coconut milk, and oil.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage the chicken so that it is completely coated. Marinate overnight or a minimum of 2 hours.
Make the sauce:
- Combine the masaman paste, peanut butter, sugar, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, rice vinegar, and half of the coconut milk (1/4 cup).
- Stir with a whisk to combine.
- Your sauce should have the consistency of a thick dressing, pourable but very creamy. Depending on the thickness of the peanut butter, you may use part or all of the coconut milk called for. If your sauce looks a little thick, add the remaining coconut milk and whisk again.
- Taste and season with salt to taste if needed.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to use. (You can make the sauce ahead of time. It will keep for 1 week. Stir before using.)
Make the chicken satay skewers:
- Thread 2-3 pieces of chicken onto the skewers pushing down on the chicken a little to compact it. Continue making all of the skewers until you have used up all of the chicken. Set aside.
- Heat the broiler on high and move the oven rack to the second shelf from the top.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set the skewers on the pan.
- Broil the skewers for 10-12 minutes (it is not necessary to flip the skewers as the chicken is very thin and easy to cook through).
- Move the skewers to a platter and serve garnished with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
*Soak the skewers in water. You will need to soak them for at least 2 hours. You can keep them in water overnight while you marinate the chicken, so you don’t forget to soak them.
*You can also cook it on the stove. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the skewers (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of skillet) and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with garnishes and sauce.
- Serving Size: 4 skewers
Keywords: chicken satay, peanut sauce, thai food