Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Traditionally, these spicy, aromatic chicken skewers are grilled over charcoal, and eaten as street food - but they're just as nice cooked under the grill at home. What makes them special is the peanut dipping sauce. There are so many recipes for it, but this one bursts with flavour. Totally irresistible.

Serves 4
15 mins prep
10 mins cooking time


  • 90g shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lemongrass sticks, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 large slices of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light brown suger
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ketjap manis (available from oriental grocery shops and some supermarkets)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegtable oil
  • 400g chicken breast or thigh, cut into strips
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 5g galangal, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 30ml water
  • 60g peanut butter

To serve

1 small handlful toasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped, sliced cucumber, red onion, and lime wedges (optional)


  • 10-12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water
  • Food processor


  1. In a bowl, make a marinade by combining two thirds of the following ingredients : shallots, lemongrass, garlic and ginger. Then add 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, all of the mild curry powder and ketjap manis, 1/2 teaspoon of salt a 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Place cling film over the top and leave to marinade for 10 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat the grill on a high setting.
  3. Next, make the dipping sauce by placing the remaining shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, sugar, chilli poweder and oil in a food processor. Also add the bird's eye chilli, then whizz until they form a slightly coarse mixture. Add the tamarind paste, peanut butter, lime juice and water and whizz again. Taste and season with salt if necessary. If you think your sauce is too thick, you can add some more water or lime juice. Put the sauce in a bowl, ready to serve.
  4. Take the skewers from the water and thread the chicken poeces onto them. Arrange them on a baking tray lined with kitchen foil and cook until they are golden brown and lightly charred on the edges - about 5 - 8 minutes. Turn them a few times to make sure they cook evenly.
  5. Place the skewers on a large serving plate or individual plates and sprinkle with toasted peanuts. Garnish with sliced cucumber, red onion and lime wedges. Dip the chicken in the sauce and eat while it's hot or warm.