Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce


These deliciously spiced chicken satay skewers are perfect with a sweet-and-tangy peanut sauce.

Chicken satay skewers on a serving plate, flanked by a bowl of peanut sauce.

Jonny Valiant

Active Time:
1 hrs
Marinate Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins

Satay is thought to have originated in Indonesia, and is beloved in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. The combination of charred, lemongrass-scented chicken satay and rich, spicy peanut sauce is hard to beat. To begin, boneless chicken thighs are cut into bite-sized pieces and coated with an aromatic spice paste that comes together quickly in a food processor. As the chicken marinates, shallots, garlic, jalapeño, ginger, and lemongrass are sautéed, blended with peanuts, then simmered with coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar, and fish sauce. The result: a creamy and intensely savory sauce with a perfect balance of sweetness, saltiness, and acidity. Once the satay skewers come off the grill, this rich sauce provides the perfect foil to the browned, spice-crusted chicken.



  • 3 plump lemongrass stalks (bottom 8 inches only), outer layer removed, stalk cut into 2-inch lengths

  • 2 large shallots, coarsely chopped

  • 2 large garlic cloves

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for grilling

  • 4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 4 medium shallots (3/4 cup), thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 plump lemongrass stalk (bottom 8 inches only), outer layer removed, stalk cut into 2-inch lengths

  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper


Prepare the satay

  1. In a food processor, combine the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, turmeric, fish sauce, salt and the 2 tablespoons of canola oil and process to a paste. Transfer the marinade to a bowl and add the chicken, gently tossing to coat each piece. Thread the coated chicken pieces onto 12-inch skewers and refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, jalapeño and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the aromatics are softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a food processor. Add all of the remaining ingredients along with 1/2 cup of water and process until a smooth paste forms.

  2. Scrape the peanut paste back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until very thick and the fat separates, about 20 minutes. The peanut sauce will turn a deeper shade of brown. Whisk in 1/2 cup of hot water until incorporated. Keep the peanut sauce warm over very low heat.

  3. Light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the chicken skewers over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with the peanut sauce.

Make ahead

The peanut sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat before serving, adding a few tablespoons of hot water if it's too thick.

Suggested pairing

Light, fruity Dolcetto.

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