Chicken Satay & Satay Sauce

We love Asian food in all its guises – diverse Indian dishes and subtly flavoured Chinese ones, the various kinds of nasi you get throughout south east Asia, the fusion cuisine of Malaysia…the list goes on. I have also always loved recreating these dishes in my own kitchen. Whenever an attempt at making a rendang or a nasi lemak turns out well, I am over joyed!

asian satay recipe

Indonesian cuisine is very dear to Peter’s heart (what with the Dutch connection to Indonesia) especially as he grew up in Holland. As a child, a visit to the local Chinese restaurant was a much anticipated event for him. These Chinese restaurants actually serve a combination of Chinese and Indonesian dishes, something that’s unique to them and cannot be easily found outside of the Netherlands.

asian grilled chicken

So the other day, when I was wondering what to do for dinner, I remembered that I’d found a great chicken satay recipe in a recent Saveur magazine and decided to give it a go. When chicken satay is made in Peter’s mom’s kitchen, it is always accompanied by satay sauce – a smooth peanut sauce that goes very well with the grilled chicken. I went to my favourite source for Asian recipes, Rasa Malaysia, and found a not-too-daunting satay sauce recipe. I made a few adjustments to both recipes, scaling down the ingredients and leaving out or adding in a few others to suit my taste.

The result was a truly satisfying dinner that did not take too much effort with tasty leftovers for lunch. What can be better than that!

satay ayam

Chicken Satay (original recipe from the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Saveur)

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

3tbsp peanut oil

1tbsp dark brown sugar

1tbsp sambal – I added this for some kick

1tsp ground coriander

1tsp ground turmeric

1tsp fennel seeds

1tsp kosher salt

2 stalks lemongrass chopped

3 small cloves garlic chopped

2 small shallots chopped

1 small piece ginger chopped

500g/1lb chicken thighs cut into 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick slices

5-6 bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes before using


Using a food processor or stick blender, blend the oil, sugar, sambal, coriander, turmeric, fennel, salt, lemongrass, garlic, shallots and ginger to make a smooth paste. Transfer paste to a bowl and add the chicken pieces. Mix thoroughly, cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

asian grilled chicken marinade

chicken satay recipe

After at least 4 hours, heat a grill pan on medium-high heat. Coat the surface of the pan lightly with oil. Once nice and hot, place the skewers, in batches if necessary, and cook until the meat is evenly grilled, turning over as required. This may take upto 4-5 minutes on either side.

Alternatively, you may also grill the chicken on an outdoor charcoal or gas grill.

Satay Sauce (original recipe from Rasa Malaysia)

1 small shallot chopped

3 small garlic cloves chopped

1 small piece ginger chopped

1 tsp coriander powder

1tbsp dark brown sugar

1 cup dry roasted and unsalted peanuts

5 dried red chillies, deseeded and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained

2-3 tbsp tamarind water – for this, soak a golf ball size lump of tamarind pulp in warm water for 20 minutes and strain to remove pulp and seeds

2 tbsp ketjap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) – optional

2tbsp peanut oil

a good pinch of salt


Blend together all the ingredients to form a smooth paste. Just before serving, heat the paste gently in a small saucepan on a low heat. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of water or milk to thin it out.

how to make satay sauce

Serve this delicious peanut sauce with the grilled chicken along with some white rice and you’ll have a simple yet fulfilling meal. Another great accompaniment are prawn crackers. If you can find authentic ‘krupuk’, it’s all the more better.

satay chicken and peanut sauce

indonesian grilled chicken

The beauty of these recipes lies in the fact that very similar ingredients are used in both so it’s really easy to whip them up at the same time. Go on and give it a try.

how to make satay


    • says

      You have to…it’s dead easy! I never tried that place. However, the best satay and Indonesian food I ever had was at a friend’s wedding last year in Holland. Her Indonesian family cooked for days and served up authentic fare…we kept going back for more! 😉

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