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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce And Spicy Cucumber Relish

Keyword African Bird's Eye Pepper, Serrano Pepper, Thai Pepper
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Calories 857kcal


For the chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts fresh, if possible. I slice each breast through its waistline to create two fillets about 1/3 inch thick. I then cut these into strips about ¾ inch wide. A good butcher will happily do this for you.
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 8 10-inch bamboo skewers

For the chicken’s marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic peeled, finely chopped and crushed to a rough paste
  • 1 yellow onion medium-sized, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh root ginger finely chopped, skin and all
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar I use the ‘rock’ type that comes in little round cakes about 2 ¼ inches in diameter. I reckon one of these is equivalent to a good tablespoon.
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce often labelled as Nam Pla
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the peanut sauce

  • 4 serrano peppers sliced into 1/8-inch rounds, seeds and all (fresh cayenne peppers work here as well)
  • 6 ounces whole dry-roasted salted peanuts skin-on
  • 1 yellow onion medium-sized, peeled and finely chopped.
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1 stalk lemongrass very finely chopped. I used a stalk about 6 inches long.
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce the mushroom flavored variety is my favorite
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice approximately the juice of one fresh lime

For the cucumber relish

  • 6 dried Thai bird’s eye chilies I used ones about an inch long and ground them roughly, seeds and all, in a pestle and mortar. 3 level teaspoons of dried flakes will be just as good.
  • 2 English cucumbers each about 12 -14 inches long, peeled and sliced lengthwise into thin ribbons. I use a good potato peeler to slice off ribbons down the full length of each peeled cucumber. Easily done.
  • 1 red onion medium-sized, peeled, halved and very finely sliced
  • 4 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar I used rice vinegar, but an everyday white wine vinegar is just dandy
  • 1 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water


Marinading the chicken strips

  • Break apart the palm sugar and dissolve it together with the tamarind paste in 2 tablespoons boiling water. Pour all this into a mixing bowl that’s easily big enough to hold all the chicken, and stir in the marinade’s remaining ingredients.
  • Add the chicken strips and use your fingers to thoroughly coat them in the marinade. The chicken’s going to sit in the marinade while you make the cucumber relish, and then the peanut sauce.

Making the cucumber relish

  • Begin by putting the cucumber, onion, and chili into a pretty serving bowl.
  • Now use a small saucepan on low heat to thoroughly dissolve the sugar in the water — but don’t let it boil. As soon as the sugar’s dissolved, turn off the heat and stir in the salt and vinegar.
  • Add this sugar-water mix into the bowl, give the relish a really thorough stir, and set it in the refrigerator to completely cool.

Making the peanut sauce.

  • Tip the peanuts and lemongrass into your food processor. Give the mix a few pulsing blitzes until the peanuts turn nicely chunky. Take a little care here to avoid turning the peanuts into paste — you certainly want your sauce to have a definite crunchy-peanut texture rather than being smooth.
  • Now add the peanut and lemongrass mix to a saucepan together with the rest of the ingredients for the sauce.
  • Set the pan on a low medium heat, stir well, and allow it to come to a barely bubbling boil. As soon as that happens, drop the heat to low and let the sauce simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Give the sauce a few good stirs as it simmers away to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan.
  • Turn off the heat and cover the pan — sauce done.

Preparing the chicken satay skewers

  • You’re aiming here to get even amounts of the chicken strips onto each of the 8 bamboo skewers. Carefully thread each of the strips onto a skewer so that you can concertina each strip into a roughly squarish, fairly compact block. You want each skewer to be about two-thirds filled with those block-ish strips, pressed pretty firmly one against the other.

Cooking the satay skewers*

  • Set a big skillet over a high heat and add the coconut oil.
  • The moment it starts smoking, add four of the chicken skewers, side-by-side, in a single layer across the skillet. You want to let them sear on that high heat for two minutes before turning them on to their opposite sides for another two minutes’ searing. What you’re aiming for here is to get a good, darkly golden char on two sides of each squarishly-sided skewer.
  • Now turn each skewer onto a fresh side and let it cook for just 60 seconds — just 60 seconds — then do the same for the final side.
  • Quickly remove them from the skillet, and set them aside on a warm plate. Now repeat the whole process for the next four skewers — you might need to add a little more coconut oil to the skillet to cook these.

Serving your classic chicken satay with peanut sauce

  • As the last four skewers are sizzling away, gently heat the peanut sauce over a medium flame until it just starts to bubble. Turn off the heat, stir in the lime juice, and transfer the sauce to a serving bowl.
  • Place two chicken skewers on each diner’s plate, and let them help themselves to the peanut sauce and cucumber relish.


* I prefer to do this in a big, 12-inch skillet set on a high heat rather than on the bbq. Why? Well, it’s partly because I’m better at a kitchen stovetop with a skillet, and partly because I’m cooking the peanut sauce there anyway. I do also find that the direct heat of a bbq can tend to dry the chicken and reduce its succulence.
To drink? On a brightly happy summer’s day, my choice would be that fine Thai beer, Singha. Nicely chilled and poured with a lovely creamy head for me, please.


Calories: 857kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 2124mg | Potassium: 1751mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 342IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 5mg