Marinated Thai chicken satay skewers - tender and juicy, with a lightly charred finish - served with a spicy peanut sauce. Even with a bit of marinating time it's super quick and easy! The satay peanut sauce has a few special additions for a spicy creamy finish you'll love!
What is it about peanut butter that makes it taste so disgusting on it's own, but drop-dead-deliciously-droolworthy mixed with other stuff?
I know, it's not like the marmite camp, where I've probably got half you on my side here. I think most people actually like peanut butter on toast.
In fact, I did a bit of googling to understand the peanut butter split.
Surprisingly there wasn't much research on it....
However, I came across one paper involving a study of 157 people, which said 80% of them liked peanut butter.
I think that sounds about right, so I'm going to believe that as scientific fact.
Maybe I should do an experiment (I do love a good experiment. Have you seen my cookie experiment ?).
Before I go down that rabbit hole, let's talk through this chicken satay recipe.
What do we need?
How to make it:
Once the satay ingredients have been mixed together, heat over a medium heat until thickened. Then turn off the heat. You can serve it warm or cold. If serving it warm, just reheat before serving.
- If you're using wooden skewers for your chicken satay, soak the wooden skewers in water for an hour beforehand, so they're less likely to burn under the grill (broiler) or on the griddle.
- For the chicken, we marinade chicken breast strips (or you can use chicken thighs) in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, coconut milk, cumin, ground coriander and ground ginger. Give it a good mix, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (up to over night).
- The chicken is then threaded onto those pre-soaked skewers, and grilled on a griddle pan until cooked through. You can also cook on the barbecue, or under the grill (broiler).
Serve the chicken skewers with that lovely spicy peanut sauce. I also like to sprinkle on a few toppings (as always!) of some chilli flakes and fresh coriander/cilantro). You can also sprinkle on some sesame seeds, sliced red onion and a few roughly chopped peanuts if you're as mad about toppings as I am!
So tell me, are you a peanut butter hater who has a delicious peanut butter recipe? I'd love to know about it!
Peanut butter or whizzed up peanuts?
I'd probably be frowned upon by some for using peanut butter at all in satay sauce, but I can't really tell the difference between using that or using peanuts I've whizzed up at home. It does make the whole thing a lot simpler (and means I don't have to drag out the food processor).
A traditional Indonesian Satay (where satay originates) would use roasted peanuts that have been ground by hand. I might try that one day, for authenticity's sake. I'll let you know if I do.
Chicken breast or thigh meat?
I sometimes use chicken thighs (more tender meat), but chicken breast works really well when marinated in this way. Tenderising it with the coconut milk means the chicken breast takes that burst of high-cooking-heat much better than if they weren't marinated.
More peanut butter recipes:
- No-bake peanut butter granola bars
- Peanut butter ice cream cake
- Peanut pork with broccoli
- African chicken and peanut stew
- Snickers cheesecake (no-bake)
- Thai sweet potato skins
See how to make it:
Easy Chicken Satay with Peanut Chilli Sauce
- 3 chicken breasts - cut into long, thin strips
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce - use tamari for gluten-free
- 2 garlic cloves - peeled and crushed
- 200 ml (7 oz) coconut milk - from a tin
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 1 fresh red chilli - thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) - chopped
- ½ tsp chilli flakes - (red pepper flakes)
- ¼ red onion - peeled and finely sliced
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts - roughly chopped
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Begin by soaking 8 wooden skewers in water for half an hour. This will prevent them from burning when cooking.
- Place the sliced chicken breast in a large bowl with the rest of the chicken skewer ingredients. Mix together using your hands and massage the sauce into the chicken for a minute. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 mins (up to overnight).3 chicken breasts, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 garlic cloves, 200 ml (7 oz) coconut milk, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp coriander, ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Whilst the meat is marinating, place all of the satay sauce ingredients EXCEPT for the lime juice into a small pan.3 heaped tbsp smooth peanut butter, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, ½ tsp chilli flakes, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 200 ml (7 oz) coconut milk, 1 tbsp light brown sugar, ½ tsp ground coriander
- Heat over medium heat whilst stirring with a wooden spoon. The sauce will look thin at first, then as it comes close to boiling point, it will start to thicken. Don't let the sauce boil, just turn down the heat as it approaches boiling point and stir until thickened, then turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice.* Note 1juice of 1 lime
- Take the skewers out of the water and give them a shake to remove excess water, then thread the chicken strips onto the skewers, and place the skewers on a plate.
- Brush a little oil on the griddle (or BBQ), then heat until smoking. Place the skewers on the griddle and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown - turning a couple of times during cooking (you could grill/broil the skewers if you prefer). Cut into the thickest part of one of the pieces of chicken to check it's cooked. There should be no pinkness to the chicken.
- Place the skewers on plates, then reheat the satay sauce if you like it hot. Serve in a bowl with the skewers. Top with fresh coriander (cilantro) and a few slices of red chilli. If you like lots of toppings, you can also top them with chilli flakes, a little red onion, a few chopped peanuts, and some sesame seeds.1 fresh red chilli, 2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), ½ tsp chilli flakes, ¼ red onion, 1 tbsp roasted peanuts, 1 tsp sesame seeds
Can I make Chicken Satay ahead?Yes, you can marinate the chicken and place on skewers, then refrigerate for up to a day.
The sauce can be made ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2-3 days. Place in a pan and reheat whilst stirring if you want to serve it warm.
I wouldn't recommend cooking the chicken skewers ahead of time, as the chicken will dry out.
Can I make extra sauce?This recipe comes with a good amount of sauce, but yes, you can double or treble the recipe if you like.
Can I make it gluten free?Replace the soy sauce with tamari and check your fish sauce and peanut butter are gluten free (they usually are) and it should be fine for gluten free.
Other cooking methods (oven, bbq, grill)You can place these kebabs on a barbecue or under the grill. You can even cook them in the oven (watch out, the kebab sticks will be HOT!) for approx 15 minutes at 200C/400F. Check they're fully cooked by ensuring they're no longer pink in the middle. Nutritional Information is per skewer (based on 7 skewers) including 1/7 of the sauce.
This post was first published in August 2015. Updated in April 2020 with new photos and tips and a video.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.