Thai Peanut Chicken Satay Shopping Tips
Staples of Asian cuisine such as ginger, daikon, rice vinegar, and spicy chile sauces like Sriracha add bright, fresh flavors without lots of fuss.
Thai Peanut Chicken Satay Cooking Tips
Sriracha has good heat but also has flavor - its mild sweetness comes from sun-ripened chili peppers as well as sugar and garlic.
- 1 teaspoon (4g) coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon (4g) whole white peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon (12g) palm sugar, plus more to taste (see note)
- 3 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (about 12g)
- 1 (1/4-inch) disk of ginger (about 12g), peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small shallot, roughly chopped (about 1 ounce 25g), plus more sliced shallot for garnish
- 1 (1-inch) knob fresh turmeric, peeled, or 1 teaspoon (4g) dried turmeric powder
- 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only, finely sliced (remove dry outer leaves before slicing)
- 1 (15-ounce 425g) can coconut milk, divided
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) Asian fish sauce
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds (680g) boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 recipe Peanut-Tamarind Dipping Sauce, for serving
- 1 small cucumber, cut into bite-size pieces
Toast coriander and white pepper in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Alternatively, place on a heatproof plate in the microwave and microwave at 15-second intervals until fragrant. Transfer to mortar and crush to a powder with pestle. Add palm sugar, garlic, ginger, shallot, turmeric, and lemongrass and crush to a paste. Transfer paste to a medium bowl and stir in half of coconut milk, all of fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon (4g) salt. Taste and add more salt or sugar as desired. The mixture should be quite sweet and salty.
Add chicken and turn to coat. Transfer to a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag, remove as much air as possible (you can use the water displacement method for this) and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 8 hours.
Remove chicken from bag and thread onto bamboo or metal skewers, using an onion or potato to help you do so faster and more safely. Pack chicken in tightly on skewers as you go.
Light 2/3 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the medium-high heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.
Place chicken directly over hot side of grill and cook, turning occasionally and brushing with remaining coconut milk every minute, until chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes total.
Remove from grill and serve immediately with peanut-tamarind sauce, cucumber, and sliced shallot.
FOR THE SATAY
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for grilling
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- Vegetable oil, for grilling
FOR THE POUNDED PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE
- ¾ cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon sweet chile jam, store-bought or homemade
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Chile oil, for drizzling (optional)
How to Make Chicken Satay &ndash the Recipe Method
FOR THE CHICKEN: Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl or a baggie. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated with the flavors. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Thread the chicken pieces onto wooden skewers when you&rsquore ready to cook.
Next, heat a grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates. Grill the chicken skewers 4-5 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through. It should measure 165 degrees F. internally.
I like to use my Thermapen meat thermometer from ThermoWorks (I&rsquom an affiliate) to get the perfect temperature every time. Works great!
Garnish with fresh cilantro and spicy chili flakes. Serve with the spicy Thai peanut sauce.
FOR THE THAI PEANUT SAUCE: Whisk all of the ingredients together, except for the water, in a small bowl until well combined and the sauce is nice and smooth.
Add water a teaspoon at a time until you achieve your desired consistency.
BOOM! That&rsquos it, my friends! There are a lot of ingredients here, but it is still quite an easy recipe. Most of the work is getting the marinated chicken pieces onto the little skewers, but even that isn&rsquot a big deal.
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch strips
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons peanut oil
- 4 shallots, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
- 2 small red chile peppers, seeded and minced
- ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 ¾ cups coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
- 12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
Toss chicken, garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon fish sauce in a bowl until the chicken is coated in the marinade. Cover, and marinate for 1 hour.
While the chicken is marinating, heat the peanut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in shallots, garlic, ginger, and chile peppers. Cook and stir until the shallot begins to turn golden brown, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and stir in peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons 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.
Grill chicken skewers on preheated grill until no longer pink in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with warm peanut sauce.
I’m a big fan of Thai chicken satay with peanut sauce. This same recipe could be used with pork or beef too which are also popular at Thai restaurants. Pork is the meat of choice in Thailand with this one but Thai chicken satay with peanut sauce is the most popular here in the UK.
Although it isn’t necessary, you should marinate the chicken for at least one day. You could get away with 30 minutes but the longer marination time will get you better and more tasty results.
As the chicken soaks up that incredible marinade, it not only tenderises it but make it much more juicy when cooked.
For this recipe, I used a shop bought Thai red curry paste. You could also use my homemade version here.
Remember, making Thai food is all about tasting as you go so that you get the perfect flavour for you.
This applies especially to the red curry paste, sugar, fish sauce and lime and tamarind water in this Thai chicken satay and peanut sauce recipe.
The following photos of me making this Thai chicken satay with peanut sauce should help you get it just right.
Toast the cumin and coriander seeds.
Pound the cumin and coriander first to a powder then add the white pepper, lemongrass and galangal and pound to a paste.
I would like to point out here that you want to get the paste as fine as possible but you will not get a very find paste. This is fine. Pounding the ingredients together really brings out their flavours better than any good processor could.
Add the remaining marinade ingredients and then pour the marinade over the chicken pieces.
Making the peanut sauce is really easy! You can do it the day you make the marinade or earlier. It will thicken as it cools. To thin it out again for serving, just warm it up. Sometimes I add a drop of water to do this.
Fry the red curry paste for about 30 seconds in the oil.
Then add the peanut butter and stir well to combine until smooth.
Whether you use smooth or chunky peanut butter is completely up to you. I like my peanut sauce with a bit of crunch. The rest of my family pefers smooth which is what I used for this recipe.
Add the fish sauce. This gives the sauce a nice salty flavour. Taste as you go!
The sour flavour of the sauce is done with lime juice and/or tamarind water. Taste as you go!
All done! Delicious peanut sauce in minutes!
When you are ready to cook, all you need to do is skewer the marinated chicken. Some people prefer longer, flatter pieces of chicken. That’s fine too. I like mine cut into chunks.
Marinated and ready to cook.
I build the fire on one side only or use my Kamado Joe with a heat plate on one side.
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
- 8 skewers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
Combine 1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, and granulated garlic in a bowl add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Thread marinated chicken pieces onto skewers.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken skewers in hot oil until browned and no longer pink in the center, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Bring 3/4 cup coconut milk to a simmer in small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Stir 1 tablespoon curry powder into the coconut milk and simmer for 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, peanut butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon fish sauce simmer for 1 minute. Serve dipping sauce with chicken skewers.
What other ways can I cook satay?
The beauty of satay is the smoky char you get from cooking it over charcoal or a grill, but of course you can cook or inside by pan frying, in the oven, or air fryer.
- Pan-fried satay: Lightly drizzle some oil in a non-stick pan and cook the satay over medium heat, flipping as needed, until golden and cooked through.
- Oven baked satay: Lay the satay on a lightly oiled wire rack and bake in a 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway, until golden and cooked through.
- Air fryer satay: Lightly oil the air fryer basket (if you have a rack, use the rack) and air fry for 8 minutes at 400°F. Flip and air fry for an additional 8 minutes, or until the chicken is golden and cooked through.
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Yield: 6 servings
prep time: 2 hours 30 minutes
cook time: 20 minutes
total time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Perfectly grilled chicken satay skewers in the most flavorful marinade. Served with THE BEST creamy peanut sauce ever.
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the peanut sauce
- 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, or more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- To make the peanut sauce, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, chili garlic sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons water until desired consistency is reached set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine coconut milk, soy sauce, curry powder, turmeric, garlic, ginger, brown sugar and fish sauce.
- In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken and coconut milk mixture marinate for at least 2 hours to overnight, turning the bag occasionally.
- Drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers. Brush with canola oil season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add skewers to grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 12-15 minutes.
- Serve immediately with peanut sauce.
Did you Make This Recipe?
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Chicken Satay Casserole with Thai Peanut Sauce and Rice
I have opened my next unofficial business: Phoebe’s Cozy Casserole Kitchen. It is a free subscription service that currently only has one customer, my friend who recently broke her hip.
For the first two installments, I reached into my usual bag of tricks, beginning with this Provencal Chicken and Rice Casserole—a perpetual crowd pleaser—and following it up with Not-Your-Grandmother’s Tuna Noodle Casserole.
Since both were such slam dunks, I knew I had to follow them up with something extra special. I thought of dipping back into the archives and resurrecting this coconut-y Thai chicken casserole inspired by Tom Kha Gai soup. But that’s when the creative inspiration struck: what if I did a similar combination of Thai ingredients—coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, chiles—but also layered in some peanut butter to make the rice taste like it was cooked in satay sauce.
And that, my friends, is how this Chicken Satay Casserole was born. It might just be my masterpiece.
First, let’s acclimate ourselves regionally before we bring Southeast Asia to the Midwest.
Satay (or Sate, depending on where you are) is a ubiquitous street food in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia (where it is said to have originated), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. It usually consists of sliced or cubed meat strung onto skewers, marinated in spices, particularly turmeric to give it a signature yellow hue, and served with pickled relish and/or peanut sauce.
Obviously, we have deconstructed the concept of a satay for this casserole, eliminating the skewers altogether and using the Thai-style peanut sauce not for dipping, but as a whole creamy layer to slather your chicken in.
Though marinating the chicken in a mixture of ground turmeric, ginger, coriander and lime juice, might seem like an unnecessary extra step—and certainly one I’m used to skipping when making a dump and stir casserole—it’s really worth it if you’re used to the rich flavor of the meat that you get when ordering satay at a restaurant.
The ingredient list might seem long, but it’s all pantry staples that just get whisked together and thrown into a baking dish. Don’t skimp on the crunchy cucumbers as garnish. Along with some fresh herbs (cilantro if you have any around) or green scallions, they help cut the richness of the peanut butter broth. You can even toss them together with some rice vinegar to create a quick pickle.
This recipe can also easily be made low FODMAP if you follow the notes below.
If you’re looking for a make ahead crowd-pleaser that’s just as easy as takeout, this chicken satay casserole is your ticket. Unfortunately, you will be stuck making it yourself until Phoebe’s Cozy Casserole Kitchen gets scaled beyond just one non-paying costumer.
Satay, considered to be a national dish of Indonesia, is a popular Southeast Asian street food that usually involves a marinated meat being skewered and grilled, then served with a simple saucy dip. Depending on the region, there are countless variations of satay, with different kinds of meats, marinades, spices, and even skewer material.
We're using flavorful chicken thigh meat here, but you can substitute anything from breast meat, to pork or beef, or even tofu and vegetables, though cooking times will vary. And that peanut sauce? Absolutely essential to the eating experience. It's the ultimate wingman to satay, containing all the fragrant notes of lemongrass, coconut, fish sauce, and fresh lime zest.
Just a word of advice: use tongs to toss together the chicken and turmeric, unless having yellow-stained hands has always been a secret dream of yours.
If you've made this recipe, drop us a line down below in the comments and let us know how it went! Now that you've got that grill fired up, check out our other grilling ideas.
Editor's Note: This introduction to this recipe was updated on November 4, 2020 to include more information about the dish.