Chicken satay skewers with spicy peanut sauce (sate ayam)


Chicken satay skewers with spicy peanut sauce (sate ayam)

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The city of Jakarta, Indonesia is always bustling with street food vendors, so here, chef Luke Nguyen shares his take on chicken satay.

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6 as part of a shared meal)

  • 500 g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces


  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2–3 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced 
  • 2 red chillies, chopped 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper 
  • 2 tsp ground coriander 
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis 

Spicy peanut dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp peanut oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 red Asian shallots, diced 
  • 4 bird’s eye chillies, sliced 
  • 125 g smooth peanut butter 
  • 250 ml (1 cup) light coconut milk 
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis 
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • ½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 40 g (¼ cup) unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed


Soak 20 bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.

Heat a wok or saucepan over a medium heat. Add the marinade ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until thickened and reduced. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool. 

Thread 4 to 5 pieces of the chicken onto each skewer and place on a deep plate. 

Repeat with the remaining chicken and skewers, then pour the marinade over the threaded chicken part of the skewers only. Cover with plastic wrap, transfer to the refrigerator and leave to marinate for 20 minutes. 

To make the spicy peanut dipping sauce, heat the peanut oil in a small saucepan over a medium–high heat. Add the garlic, shallot and chilli and sauté for 3 minutes. Now add the peanut butter, coconut milk, kecap manis, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and salt. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes, whisking every few minutes so that the ingredients combine well. Add the crushed peanuts, lime juice and 100 ml (½ cup) water, return to a simmer and cook for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 

Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue chargrill to high. Chargrill the chicken skewers for 3 minutes on each side, turning them over and basting them with the reserved marinade every minute. 

NEXT: We're moving onto Bangkok with these spicy prawn salad.


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