This Chicken Satay is like what you might find on the street in Singapore or Indonesia. But then, Satay is so identified with many Southeast Asia and Pacific Rim countries, you might find a version like this in many countries where Satay is a common street food. Many Satays use a peanut sauce. Some are spicy, some are not. Many also use vinegar for a tang and sugar for a sweetness. Our recipe uses a peanut sauce which is not too spicy, and has a nice sweetness.
Our recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat for extra flavor, which is most commonly used. You can use strips of chicken breast if you prefer, but they can dry out easy on the grill.
Satay is usually grilled over charcoal. We cook ours on a gas grill so we can control the heat zones better. If you use charcoal, just make sure you have both medium-hot zone to char the chicken and an indirect zone to finish the cooking.
Chicken & Marinade:
2 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips
¼ Cup White or Demerara (Raw) Sugar
6 Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced
3 Tablespoons Peanut Oil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger Finely Grated
4 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Ground Turmeric
1 Tablespoon Kosher Sea Salt
Canola or other neutral oil for the grill
½ Cup Boiling Water
½ Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
¼ Cup Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons White or Demerara (Raw) Sugar
2 Tablespoons Peanut Oil
2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger Finely Grated
1 Garlic Clove, Finely Minced
2 Teaspoons Sweet Chili Sauce
½ Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Salted Peanuts
To prepare the chicken marinade, in a large mixing bowl, add ½ cup water, the sugar, minced garlic, peanut oil, ginger, cumin, turmeric and the 1 tablespoon sea salt. Whisk the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Add the chicken and gently toss to completely coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
For the Satay Sauce, carefully pour the boiling water into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the peanut butter. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Whisk again to combine. Let rest.
In a small skillet, heat the peanut oil, ginger and garlic over medium heat. Gently stir for about 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture starts to sizzle and is fragrant. Stir in the Sweet chili sauce and turmeric. Stir for another 30 seconds. Add the garlic mixture into the soy mixture and gently whisk to combine. Place ½ cup in a small bowl, which will be used to baste the grilling chicken. The rest will be served with the Satay. Cover both bowls and refrigerate until needed.
Remove the sauce bowls from the refrigerator about 20 to 30 minutes before threading the chicken on the skewers. Stir in the chopped peanuts into the large bowl with the dipping sauce. The peanuts add extra flavor.
Transfer the chicken from the marinade to a plate. Discard the marinade. Divide up the chicken so you’ll thread equal amounts onto eight metal skewers. The chicken should be pushed together but threaded more flat so the strips cook fast and even.
Prepare your grill by turning all your burners on medium-high for 10 to 15 minutes to get the grill grates hot. Once hot, soak a paper towel with the oil and using tongs, rub the oiled towel on the grates, which will keep the chicken from sticking.
Place the Satay skewers directly over the heat. Brush the chicken with half of the reserved Satay Sauce. Grill the chicken with the lid open for about 4 to 5 minutes until well charred, but not burned. Turn the chicken over. Brush the chicken with the remaining half of the sauce. Grill another 4 to 5 minutes until well charred (and not burnt) and thoroughly cooked through. When fully cooked, remove from the grill and place on a serving platter. Stir the Satay Sauce in the larger bowl, ladle into individual ramekins for dipping.
Serve with Jasmine or Saffron Rice for a perfect side dish.