Karl’s Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Adapted from a RasaMalaysia recipe

Wife Jan asked for chicken satay for Sunday’s dinner. If you search for this dish on-line you will find it spelled both “satay” and “sate.” While these are basically the same dish, the difference lies in whether the recipe has more Thai or Indonesian influence in the seasoning. While the recipe I based this one on was more Malaysian, I pushed it toward Thailand in my choices of ingredients.

Karl’s Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Karl’s Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Bee’s recipe called for using masaman curry paste. This is an uncommon ingredient in Thai cuisine, but common in Indonesian versions of this dish. I have not been able to find this paste locally and for this meal I did not want to start from scratch. I chose to push the whole recipe further into Thailand by using Thai ingredients.

In researching Thai dishes, I discovered that there are several sauces that are crucial to achieve “authentic tastes.” While a recipe may call for simply “soy sauce,” native cooks would know that Thai “thin” soy sauce is what is being called for. Substituting Chinese or Japanese soy sauces for the “proper ingredient” simply will not create the authentic Thai flavor.

Note: Two of my diners are “off” garlic and onions, so I have further adapted these recipe to eliminate these offending ingredients.

One common ingredient to Thai—and Indian and Malaysian—cuisine is tamarind. While it looks like a furry bean, it is actually a fruit. You may buy the pods many places, but it is a struggle to remove the hull and seeds from the sticky fruit. You may find tamarind pulp already mixed with water, but the more cost effective and convent way is to buy a block of the pulp with the hull and seeds already removed.

Note: I serve these skewers with a cucumber apple salad and a coconut rice—the less said about this side dish the better, not all of my creations are raging successes—all that can really be said about it was that was was edible.

Karl’s Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce


1½ lb. chicken thighs, skinless and boneless chicken cut into bite sized pieces


⅓ cup coconut milk
2 Tbs.  Thai fish sauce
½ Tbs. Thai thin soy sauce (Healthy Boy brand preferred)
2 tsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
1 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. white pepper
½ tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. coriander, ground
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Peanut Sauce

1 tsp. tamarind paste in 3 Tbs. hot water

1 cup coconut milk
3 Tbs. creamy peanut butter
2 Tbs. Thai fish sauce
2 tsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. paprika

5-8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes


1. Cut the chicken thighs into large bite sized pieces.

2. Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

3. Toss the chicken in the marinade to coat.

4. Marinate the chicken for at least half an hour.

Tip: Overnight, in the refrigerator, is better.

5. One hour before you are planning to put the chicken on the grill, make your peanut sauce.

6. Put the tamarind paste in a small bowl and add 3 tablespoons of boiling water.

7. Stir the paste into the water and let it steep for 10 minutes.

Note: Do not forget to soak the bamboo skewers half an hour before removing the chicken from the refrigerator.

8. Strain the liquid into a small pot and add the rest of the peanut sauce ingredients.

Tip: Discard the tamarind solids.

9. Over a low heat stir the peanut sauce until it is creamy.

Note: As it heats the peanut butter will absorb more and more of the sauces liquids. If the sauce becomes too thick, simply add more coconut milk or water until you reach your desired consistency.

10. String the chicken pieces on the soaked bamboo skewers.

Tip: If you wish to eat the chicken directly off the skewers, use short bamboo skewers.

Note: If you are planning to eat the chicken with chopsticks you may use long skewers and remove them from the skewers before serving.

11. Grill the skewers over the hot side of the grill for 4-5 minutes per side, until well browned on all sides.

Tip: You may use a instant read thermometer to measure an internal temperature of 160º F.

12. Wrap the skewers in foil to rest for 10 minutes.

13. Place the chicken satay on a plate to serve with the peanut sauce on the side.

Tip: You may garnish the plate with sliced green onion or a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, if you wish.

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Filed under Chicken, Main Dishes, Sauces and Spices

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