Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Thai Chicken Thigh Satay

This is one of my favorite “go to grill recipes” and is always a crowd-pleaser.

Indonesian satay sellers. c. 1880

Indonesian satay sellers. c. 1880

Satay, which originated in Indonesia where it can be obtained from a traveling satay vendors, from a street-side tent-restaurant, in an upper-class restaurant, or during traditional celebration feasts. Satay (or sate) is a dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce.

Even India cannot claim its origin, as it’s a legacy of Middle Eastern influence.

Satay is often served with a spicy peanut sauce dip, slivers of onions, cucumbers, and rice. Pork satay can be served in a pineapple-based satay sauce or cucumber relish.

Note: Many recipes call for using chicken breast, but I prefer using marinated chicken thighs, as they tend to stay more moist and tender after grilling, than chicken breasts do.

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Also, some folks brush the meat with peanut sauce during grilling, but I find that this overwhelms the flavor of the chicken and the marinade, so I serve the two separately.


Chef Perry

Chicken Thigh Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken thighs

2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger root
2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce

Peanut Sauce:
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
4 shallots, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
2 tsp. Siracha sauce
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 3/4 cups coconut milk
3 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
12 wooden skewers, soaked in warm water for 1 hour

Mise en Place

Cut each thigh in half, and then each half into thirds (6 cubes per thigh). Peel and mince garlic, ginger, and shallots.


Marinade: Toss chicken, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce in a bowl until the chicken is coated in the marinade. Cover, and marinate up to 8 hours.

While the chicken is marinating, heat the peanut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in shallots, garlic, and ginger. Cook and stir until the shallot begins to turn golden brown, about 7 minutes.

Chx Satay5Reduce heat to low, and stir in peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, Siracha sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice until blended.

Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and keep warm.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Thread chicken onto skewers.

Chicken Thigh Satay

Grill chicken skewers on preheated grill until no longer pink in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with warm peanut sauce over steamed Jasmine Rice (recipe below).

Jasmine Rice with Garlic Ginger and CilantroJasmine Rice with Garlic, Ginger, and Cilantro
6 cups jasmine rice
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2/3 cup peeled fresh ginger, minced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
9 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 large bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Place rice in large sieve; rinse under cold running water until water runs clear. Drain.

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic; stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and stir 3 minutes. Stir in broth and salt. Sprinkle cilantro over. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until rice is tender, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand covered 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork, and serve.