Chicken Satay served with Peanut Sauce

Posted on December 20, 2012


In Western restaurants, ‘satay’ refers to a peanut sauce served with meat such as chicken or beef. In Malaysia and neighbouring countries however satay is a dish of marinated, bamboo-skewered meat grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, and served with a sauce, often with peanut. While the popular kinds of satay are usually beef and chicken satays; goat, mutton, pork, rabbit and other meats are also available.

Satay originated in Java and is available almost anywhere in Indonesia, where it has become a national dish. It might have been invented as adaptation of the Indian kebab, since the dish has become popular in Java after the influx of Muslim, Indian and Arab immigrants to the region in the early 19th century.

In Penang it is a familiar sight at night markets to see a satay vendor hovering over charcoal BBQ grilling skewers of meat, at the same time controlling the fire with a hand-held bamboo fan. The smoky aroma of char grilled meat fills the air, seducing patrons of the market into an unforgettable culinary experience.

Ingredients for spice marinade

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 stalks lemon grass (use only the white bottom part)
6 eschalots, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 tablepoon light soy sauce

Ingredients for peanut sauce

1 tablespoon tamarind
1 cup hot water
8 large chillies, deseeded
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 eschalots, peeled
1 tablespoon macadamia nuts, soaked in water to soften
1 cup peanuts, toasted
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Other ingredients

5 chicken fillets, thighs or breasts, cut into 3 cm cubes
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 2 hours to avoid burning
1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
1 onion, peeled and cut into 3 cm squares


  1. Chop the spice ingredients into small pieces. Grind to paste in a food processor. Marinade the chicken pieces with the spice paste for 10-12 hours or over night in the refrigerator.
  2. For the peanut sauce, mix tamarind and water and leave aside for 15 min.
  3. Chop chillies, garlic and eschalots to small pieces and place in food processor. Remove macadamia nuts from water and grind to paste together with chopped spice. Add toasted peanuts and grind briefly.
  4. Fry sauce paste in a saucepan with oil for 5 min.
  5. Pour tamarind juice through a strainer into pan. Bring to boil and stir for 2 min, adding sugar and salt. Set aside to cool.
  6. Thread the meat on to bamboo skewers and grill for 3-5 minutes each side in an oven set at 180oC.
  7. Serve hot with cucumber, onions and peanut sauce as dip.

Serves 4

Chicken Satay1

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