Malaysian Chicken Satay Recipe


If you have never had satay, you don’t know what you are missing!  Satay is one of the must try Malaysian street food – charcoal grilled succulent skewered meat (chicken or beef) served with special satay sauce. Don’t get mixed up with the Malaysian Satay Sauce and the Thai Peanut Sauce, they are different.

I prepared some of these Chicken Satay during a recent barbeque party with my extended family and it was an instant hit. I used the chicken satay recipe from Christine’s Recipes, which requires marinating the chicken with more spices than any usual Malaysian recipe and it does not require any satay sauce. The sugar in the marinate caramelizes during grilling makes the satay taste better and the marinated chicken satay by itself is already full of flavour that they do not need the satay sauce.

But Chicken Satay is not complete without the authentic satay sauce! Another tip from years of eating tons of satay, I think one of the secrets is the skin or fat pieces skewered between the meat that makes the satay so succulent. Of course you can opt for an all-healthy chicken breast satay, but trust me – for once it’s a must to indulge in succulent Chicken Satays!

If you do not have a barbeque grill, don’t worry. A toaster oven works well, or follow Christine’s method – cook the satay in a frying pan and finish of in the oven. They look Just As Delish! If you love satay, you can also try the famous Kajang Beef Satay recipe.

This Chicken Satay recipe is to be submitted to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday. Check out Muhibbah Malaysian Monday hosted by 3hungrytummies and Test With Skewer for more Malaysian goodies!

I’m also participating this post to Your Best Recipe of February 2012 hosted by Spicie Foodie. Check out the other yummy recipes submitted by other bloggers the February round-up here.

4.9 from 7 reviews
Malaysian Chicken Satay
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chicken Satay - charcoal grilled succulent skewered chicken served with special satay sauce. Chicken Satay is full of flavour even without the sauce. A must try Malaysian street food.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Malaysian
Serves: 18-20 skewers
Chicken Satay
Satay Sauce
  • 5 Shallots - chopped
  • 2 clove Garlic
  • 1 Lemongrass - chopped
  • 5 Dried Red Chili - chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 1 inch Galangal - chopped (substitute with ginger if galangal is unavailable)
  • 200g Ground Unsalted Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 100ml Water
  • 2 tablespoon Vegetable Oil (for frying)
Chicken Satay
  1. Cut chicken thigh (and skin) into thin strips of 1inch slices. Blend onion in a food processor. Mix all ingredients in a plastic container, cover and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
  2. After marinating, thread the marinated chicken through soaked skewers. Thread the skin in between meat slices. This makes the satay more tender and juicy.
  3. Arrange the skewers on a heated grill or barbecue and grill until meat is evenly browned on both sides and cooked through. Prick meat with a toothpick. If no liquid runs out, it’s done.
  4. Serve with satay sauce, cucumber and onion.

Satay Sauce
  1. Ground the first 6 ingredients with a pestle and mortar (or you can also use a food processor).
  2. Heat oil in a wok/pan and fry the ground ingredients until the oil rises to the top.
  3. Add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes until the gravy turns thick and oil separates from the gravy. Stir constantly so the sauce doesn't get burnt.
*Toast peanuts in a pan over low heat for 5 minutes (stirring constantly) or in the oven on 170C for 5 minutes. For exceptional satay sauce, the peanuts are pounded with pestle and mortar. If you want to save time, grind them in food processor.
*Alternative Cooking Method:
Cook the skewered chicken in a frying pan over medium heat until both sides are light brown. Transfer the skewers onto baking tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.


  1. Well done! I think you could marinade the meat (with some soy sauce based marinade and spices) overnight and use the best quality part of the Chicken which is the breast in my opinion. You say that this is to lean, you need fat? Maybe bacon could fix that problem. Cooking on High heat like BBQ or Charcoal is superb. Anyway: Satay Chicken is the best!!

  2. Do you remove the oil (when it separates), when frying the satay sauce?

  3. OMG your satay looks amazeballs. I hope you don’t mind I’m sharing this post on my blog. Do check out my blog as i am a new blogger. Your feedbacks and comments much appreciated as your the expertise in food.
    Do share if you like it =)

    Warmest Regards

  4. I just made Malaysian Chicken Satay Recipe but the satay sauce is very very thick despite doubling the amount of oil and more water added. Would appreciate any idea as to how to make it a sauce instead of a very thick paste?

    • Malaysian satay sauce is a thick paste with chunky ground peanuts, it is not a watery liquid sauce. If you prefer liquid sauce, you can reduce the amount of ground peanuts or blend the sauce to make it smooth.

  5. Hi,

    Thank you for the recepi. I am sorry but I want to ask, your onion is 1/2 onion, is it the brown onion or the shallot? And I see you didn’t use any lemon grass, will the smell be there? I hope I can hear from you, I really appreciate your feedback.

  6. Not quite the same as paying 50 baht for a bag full of them and eating them with an ice cold Chang in the wonderful evening heat, but they really are delicious and the fragrances that hit you are sure to bring back Thai memories! Highly recommend them on a charcoal barbecue too, just make sure the coals aren’t too hot.

  7. I made this recipe tonight and it didn’t turn out well. I did everything exactly to the recipe and it was really thick and not a sauce consistency at all. Tasted good tho. I ended up putting heaps of water in it and blending it. I have no idea what I did wrong 🙁 wah!

    • NAILED IT! I bought salted roasted peanuts yesterday and ground them myself and added less salt. Yeah you cant do that. They definitely have to be roasted unsalted. Also I found that after frying the mortar and pestled ingredients I just added the rest of the dry ingredients first and then once all of those were combind I then added the water and then let it summer. Yay! Thanks for your help!

      • Hi Krissy, got both your message on the Facebook Page and here.
        I didn’t add in the photo of sauteing the paste. That’s why it looked different than yours. The ground/processed ingredients is lumpy and you need to saute that with oil until fragrant. This step will give a very fragrant sauce. When the oil start to separate from the paste and rise up to the top, add water, peanuts and seasoning.
        sorry I did not mention that the peanuts is to be unsalted.. usually I roast raw peanuts and grind them. we can even get readily grounded unsalted roasted peanuts here in Malaysia 😀 I’ll put a note on the recipe.

        • Thank you so very kindly for the response and the help. It is greatly appreciative 😀
          I see you have updated the recipe now 🙂

          I will be making this again. Thank you again for your help 🙂

  8. This was excellent, my children had a great time skewering the chicken. Thank you!

  9. I am cannot find milk or coconut listed in the recipe. The spices are tempting and I look forward to trying this. You wrote you substituted milk for coconut but in which part of the recipe?

    • I prefer the satay sauce without milk, so I’ve changed the recipe last year but forgot to amend in the description. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do

  10. Maybe I’m wrong but I don´t see any peanuts in your peanut sauce

    • Hi Eric, you are right. I must have deleted the peanuts ingredient when I was amending the recipe a few weeks ago. I tweaked the peanut sauce recipe. Have added back the ground peanuts into the recipe. Thanks for the sharp eye

  11. Sounds delicious! Great post and recipe!

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  15. Hi Shannon,
    I hope you are enjoying your holiday. Satay you say? Oh, yes yes! We love chicken satay. Great recipe. Thanks for being a part of the YBR!
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Your Best Recipes of February 2012, YBRMy Profile

    • It was a fun and adventurous unplanned holiday, and super super cold! lots of food inspiration too! I just got back to Malaysia last night, so glad for the hot weather again 🙂
      Yes, who doesn’t love chicken satay 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

  16. This looks beautiful 🙂 I love Malaysian cuisine, and was lucky enough to have a friend in college for awhile who would treat me to wonderful dishes. Gorgeous recipe!
    Kiri W. recently posted..Pepones Et Melones – Ancient Roman Water And Honey MelonsMy Profile

  17. I love chicken satay and peanut sauce. In fact, I was in Indonesia last year and had the best chicken and beef satay with peanut sauce mixed with sweet soy sauce….SUPER GOOD!! Nice blog by the way 🙂 Super crisp…

    Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  18. Pingback: Your Best Recipes of February 2012 | February’s YBR’s Roundp

  19. I love satay too. Going to try this for my family over the weekend 🙂
    Ann@Anncoo Journal recently posted..Creme BruleeMy Profile

  20. I love satay. I am a peanut sauce fan, definitely. Can’t wait to try this out!

  21. Argh! I haven’t had lunch yet now all I want is chicken satay 🙂 Looks absolutely delicious!
    shaz recently posted..Happy “Summer of Love Cookies” DayMy Profile

  22. What a wonderful recipe, I have printed it up and am going to make something with it. I love the peanut sauce too, I could eat that with just noodles. Delish.
    Suzi recently posted..Creamy Belgian Endive SoupMy Profile

    • Thank you Suzi! wow I can feel your love for peanut sauce from Malaysia! hehe.
      Do update me how the recipe turn out for you. hope you enjoy it as much as i do!

  23. I LOVE satay ! Who doesn’t ? hahaha When I saw your featured post on Asian Food Channel FB page my mouth waters hee hee Love the step by step how-to ! Yummy photos , too ;D
    anne recently posted..Strawberryfic huh!My Profile

  24. LOVE satay — fond childhood memories 🙂

    ps: I would be back in Malaysia for a few weeks sometimes around May this year — we must meet 🙂
    Kiran @ recently posted..Blood Orange & Tofu CheesecakeMy Profile

    • Yes, we should meet up, that will be fun! I have so many things I want to ask you (more like learn from your blogging experiences). Just let me know when

  25. I LOVE satay! My grandparents lived in Malaysia for a brief time when my mom was growing up. When I was a kids, she used to take us to dives in Houston that had satay like she had there. In my tiny Midwest town, we have no such Malay. I need to try and make these!
    Heather {the lovely cupboard} recently posted..Free Menu PrintableMy Profile

  26. Thanks so much for this recipe.I’ve been looking all around for a good chicken satay!My family loves it and we always eat this at out local malaysian restaurant here!So glad to have found your recipe and will definitely be making this 🙂
    Soni recently posted..Homemade Thai Green CurryMy Profile

  27. When I saw your title and picture I literally went “yes yes yes yes!” in my head. I’m not joking. I absolutely adore chicken satay, and love the peanut sauce just as much. I’ve made it before but can’t wait to try your version! Thanks for the tips on cooking it without a grill.
    Katherine Martinelli recently posted..Chocolate Covered Strawberries and a Valentine’s Day Blog HopMy Profile

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