Malaysian Chicken Satay

This is based on a “Cook’s Illustrated” recipe. I didn’t have several of the ingredients on hand, so this is what I used. It came out beautifully and so good. Bruce did the actual skewering and grilling. This meant dinner was ready when I finished work.

Serves 4 to 6


Marinade and Aromatic Paste

  • 3 lemongrass stalks, trimmed to the bottom 6 inches
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar or packed brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 2 inch pie ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch thick coins
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 – 5 jalapeño peppers, washed, stemmed, and chopped (I like it hot!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup of chunky natural peanut butter, well mixed
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of water, pulse extra as needed
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar or packed brown sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • Two boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into long strips, with the grain, about a 1/4 inch wide
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Food processor, grill, 8 to 10 metal 12 inch skewers, cutting board, knife, meat pounder or heavy sauce pan, microwave, medium sized microwave proof bowl, tongs or metal spatula, medium size sauce pan


  1. Halve lemongrass lengthwise and use a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy sauce pan to lightly crush the lemon on a cutting board to soften it. Mince the lemongrass and transfer to the work bowl of the food processor set up with the chopping blade.
  2. To the food processor work bowl, add the onion, water, oil, sugar, garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, jalapeño peppers, cumin, and coriander. Process until a uniform paste forms, about two minutes, scrapping down the sides of the work bowl as necessary.
  3. Transfer paste to a medium size microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through the microwaving.
  4. Save out 1/3 cup of the paste for a dipping sauce.
  5. Let the paste cool in the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Make the peanut dipping sauce by heating the oil and the 1/3 cup of paste in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat until the paste starts to darken, about 5 minutes. Stir in water, tamarind paste, sugar, and peanut butter and turn up heat to medium high bring to a boil, scrapping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the sauce has boiled, reduce heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook until the sauce is reduced to about a cup. This takes 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Add the chicken to the bowl with the paste, toss to coat the chicken, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. You can also cook the chicken right away.
  8. Start your grill up. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover and let heat until hot, about 15 minutes. Then turn the burners down to medium.
  9. While grill is heating up, thread the chicken strips onto the metal skewers by folding the chicken strips back and forth over the skewers and then stretching the chicken along the skewers.
  10. Clean and oil the cooking grate of the grill. Brush both sides of the chicken skewers with oil. Place the chicken skewers on the grill and cook covered for about 5 minutes. The chicken should have some char marks on it. Using tongs or a metal spatula, flip the skewers, and cook for 3 minutes longer withe the grill cover down. The chicken should be at least 165 degrees F. Remove from grill to a platter.
  11. Gently reheat the peanut sauce, thinning by adding a tablespoon of water at a time until it is the desired consistency. Once at the desired consistency put in a bowl for serving


Photo by Gerald Jake Abangan on

One thought on “Malaysian Chicken Satay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.