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Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers

Juicy, tender Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers coated in a spicy peanut sauce are perfect for summer. Serve with a fresh, spicy salad and basmati rice.

Grilling and barbecue season is finally here! If you’re a fan of big, punchy flavours and a some chilli spice, my recipe for tender Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers with peanut sauce is for you. Don’t have a barbecue? Don’t worry, these skewers can be made in the oven and they are mouth-wateringly delicious.

What are these satay skewers all about?

Ok, listen to this: Tender, juicy chicken breast, threaded onto skewers or kabob sticks, marinated in a spicy, punchy peanut sauce and grilled to perfection. Sounds good right? My easy recipe for Chicken Satay Skewers with spicy peanut sauce is so simple to make at home and packs a powerful flavour punch.

Where does satay come from?

Satay originated in Javanese Indonesia, before spreading throughout the whole of South-East Asia. The satay recipe that I am sharing here is closest to the traditional recipe Sate Madura. As with any recipe that is spread across a whole region, the recipe varies from place to place but it usually include peanuts and sweet soy sauce. So good!

Wait, doesn’t satay always have peanuts?

Actually, it doesn’t! While satay has come be associated with peanut sauce, in Indonesia and Malaysia satay is a whole range of different skewered meats, most with no peanut sauce at all!

On the grill or under the broiler, this easy recipe is flexible

Sometimes I don’t feel like firing up the grill / barbecue just to cook for the two of us. That’s where the broiler (we call that an oven grill where I come from) comes in handy. You can simply broil these Chicken Satay Skewers to golden brown perfection in the kitchen.

Ready in minutes

The satay sauce and marinade are made in one go by blitzing the ingredients in the food processor. The skewers themselves cook super quickly too, so this is a great weeknight standby.

If you’ve got the time, I always recommend marinating the meat for up to eight hours. It means the chicken will be more tender and flavoursome, and all those amazing flavours will have time to work their magic. Don’t worry if you are in a rush though, this sauce still tastes amazing even when you’ve hurried it along.

What should I serve with Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers?

I like to serve these Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers with a fresh, zesty, spicy salad with lots of lime juice and chilli. Of course, they definitely need some aromatic basmati rice on the side. These kabobs also make a fantastic bite-sized party-platter snack for when you’ve got a multitude to feed, and can be made in advance and heated up. Winner!

Juicy, tender Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers coated in a spicy peanut sauce are perfect for summer. Serve with a fresh, spicy salad and basmati rice.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use chicken breast or other meats for the satay skewers?

Yes of course! As this dish is marinated even breast meat should be lovely and tender. I use thigh meat because I prefer it and it is great value for money. Satay can be made with any meat, firm fleshed fish or even tofu, you may need to adjust the grilling times. Fish can be marinated for a maximum of one hour.

Can I cook grilled chicken satay skewers on the barbecue?

Definitely! Simply grill as usual if using a barbecue. Cook over a low flame to ensure the marinade doesn’t burn.

I don’t have any coconut milk! Help, what can I substitute?!

While it will change the flavour profile you can use natural unsweetened yoghurt instead of coconut milk.

Can I make Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers in advance?

You sure can, in fact that’s why this is such a great picnic or outdoor food. The chicken can be (in fact is better if) marinated up to 24 hours before cooking. The skewers are actually lovely cold with a squeeze of fresh lime to brighten the flavour, and can be reheated, loosely covered with foil.

I don’t have any Ketjap Manis. What can I substitute?

You can replace this sweet Indonesian soy sauce with a mixture of light soy sauce and brown sugar.

I’m not a fan of spicy food. Can I leave the chilli out?

Yes you can, though the coconut milk and peanut in this recipe both help to tone down the heat of the chilli. I always test chillies that I buy to see how spicy they are and then add them to the recipe accordingly. It’s always better to add less chilli if you are unsure and add chilli flakes to taste later if it needs more heat.


If you like your satay extra spicy you can use hot peppers in the marinade

Marinated Satay Chicken on skewers ready to be grilled
Juicy, tender Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers coated in a spicy peanut sauce are perfect for summer. Serve with a fresh, spicy salad and basmati rice.

Looking for more tasty grilled recipes?

How about my Turkish Chicken Shish Kebabs?

Or Spicy Pork and Bacon Burgers?

Need some homemade pillowy Soft Burger Buns to go with those? Get the recipe here!

Vegetarians don’t miss out, How about Chickpea or Black Bean Burgers? Get grilling!

Juicy, tender Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers coated in a spicy peanut sauce are perfect for summer. Serve with a fresh, spicy salad and basmati rice.

Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Juicy, tender Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers coated in a spicy peanut sauce are perfect for summer. Serve with a fresh, spicy salad and basmati rice.

Ingredients

for the marinade / sauce:

  • 150 g (1 cup peanuts), see note
  • 125 ml (½ cup) coconut milk
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 cm or 2 in. piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1-2 long red chillies, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp sweet soy sauce, Ketjap Manis, (see note for substitution)
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

for the skewers:

  • 800 g chicken thigh or breast, cut into cubes

for the salad:

  • 250 g (½ lb.) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • small bunch of fresh mint, leaves only
  • Juice of 1 lime

for the rice:

  • 300 g (1 ½ cups) basmati rice
  • 1 tsp butter
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. MAKE THE MARINADE: Place all marinade/sauce ingredients in the bowl of a food processor with 125ml / ½ cup of boiling water. Process on high until well blended. The sauce won’t be completely smooth - that’s OK, you want a bit of texture.
  2. MARINATE THE MEAT: Place the cubed chicken into a glass bowl, pour over the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes before the next step.
  3. HEAT THE GRILL / BROILER: Heat the oven grill / broiler to the highest setting and line an oven tray with foil. Place a wire rack over the top, brush with a little oil and set aside.
  4. MAKE THE SALAD AND RICE: To make the salad, combine all ingredients, stir to combine and divide between 4 plates. To cook the rice, give the rice a quick rinse, then place in a saucepan along with 700ml or just under 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest, covered, or 5 minutes before fluffing up with a fork and serving.
  5. COOK THE SKEWERS: When you are ready to cook the satay skewers, thread the chicken onto the prepared skewers and place on the wire rack. Cook under the oven grill / broiler for 7-8 minutes until beginning to char and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. MAKE THE SAUCE: Meanwhile, pour all leftover marinade/sauce into a saucepan and cook, stirring for at least 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened and darkened. If it gets too thick or dark add a splash of water or coconut milk.
  7. SERVE: Serve the Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers immediately with the rice, spicy salad and sauce.

Notes

  • I always use salted, roasted peanuts as that’s what I have in the house and is the most budget friendly. Before using I rinse off the salt so I can control the amount of salt in the final dish. For a smoother sauce, soak the peanuts in warm water for 5 minutes before draining, rinsing and continuing as per the recipe.
  • Ketjap Manis is a type of Indonesian sweet soy sauce, usually available in the Asian food section of a supermarket or Asian specialty food store. If you can’t find it simply use the same amount of light soy sauce plus 1 level tablespoon of soft brown sugar.
  • If you are at all squeamish about re-using the marinade as a sauce, simply reserve half of the marinade (don’t pour it over the chicken) and cook that instead. Food safety regulations are very clear that marinade can be reused as a sauce as long as it is cooked for at least 5 minutes before serving. It seems a shame to waste it, doesn’t it?

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 979Total Fat: 62gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 284mgSodium: 1754mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 7gSugar: 8gProtein: 70g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.

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Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 263

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