Malaysian Chicken Satay

Malaysian Chicken Satay recipe


  • 2 lb / 1 kg boneless/skinless chicken thighs, skimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only; minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled + sliced
  • 1 2-inch piece galangal, sliced
  • 6-8 small shallots peeled + sliced
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sweet soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp palm sugar (can sub brown sugar)
  • Bamboo skewers – soaked in cold water for at least 2 hours

To make the chicken:

  1. Mash all the the marinade ingredients in a mortar and pestle until you have a fine, chunky paste
  2. Mix the chicken and the marinade together; stir to mix well. Marinate the chicken for at least around 5-6 hours in the fridge, or ideally, overnight for max flavor.
  3. When ready, thread 3-4 pieces of the chicken meat onto soaked bamboo skewers.
  4. Grill the chicken skewers for 3-4 minutes on each side until the meat is fully cooked and the surface is nicely charred, on the both sides. If you do not have a grill, you can do this over medium heat on a cast-iron pan on the stove.
  5. Serve hot with peanut sauce the fresh cucumber pieces and onions.

Peanut sauce for dipping: (The Base):

  • 1 C dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 Tbsp sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)

The spice paste for the peanut sauce:

  • 10 dried red chilies, seeded and soaked in warm water
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 small shallots, peeled + sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3 strips; bottom 1/3: minced; top 2/3s: cut in half and smashed
  • 1/2 inch piece galangal, peeled and minced

To make the peanut sauce:

  1. Crush the peanuts with mortar and pestle or use a food processor to grind the peanuts. Set aside.
  2. Chop the spice paste ingredients coarsely, transfer to a mortar and pestle and pound until fine. Add a few tablespoons of water to help blending.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add the spice paste.
  4. Add the remaining two strips of lemongrass in the spice paste. Fry the spice paste until fragrant and spicy.
  5. Add the ground peanuts, water, tamarind juice, salt, sugar, coriander powder and sweet soy sauce. Stir to combine well.
  6. Reduce the peanut sauce on medium-low heat, stir continuously for about 5-10 minutes or until the peanut sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon.
  7. Let cool at room temperature and serve with satay.

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