Chicken satay with chunky peanut sauce

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serves: 4-6 Easy
1 Rating 

Ingredients (23)

  • 700g chicken pieces, thigh meat is best
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, white part only
  • 1 cm fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • pinch of salt

for the sauce

  • 10 shallots
  • 5 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1cm fresh ginger
  • 1cm galangla root
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, white part only
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 300g raw peanuts, roasted and remove skins
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 100ml coconut milk
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Chicken satay with chunky peanut sauce

My mother recalls the old man she used to buy chicken satay from in Rangoon’s Chinatown. She tells me it was something that was eaten by the roadside. There was a large pot of spicy rich peanut sauce and each person was allowed one dip in the sauce per skewer.

Although satay can be rustled up in no time – if you do not marinate the meat and use peanut butter to make the sauce – I prefer to make the sauce from scratch so that it is close to the peanut sauce my mother always talks about.

Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, it’s really simple to make.


  1. 1Soak the skewers in cold water for 30 minutes before using to stop them scorching.
  2. 2Start with the marinade. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the lemon grass, ginger and garlic until a smooth paste. Add the ground turmeric, cumin, paprika and salt. Mix in the remaining ingredients until a runny marinade. Pop the chicken pieces, cover and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour or preferably over night.
  3. 3To make the sauce, first roast the peanuts under a moderate grill. Keep a close eye as they can quickly burn. When the peanuts are golden all over, remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once cooled, grind them into a coarse paste. I prefer my sauce quite chunky.
  4. 4Next pound the shallots, dried chillies, garlic, ginger, galangla and lemon grass in a pestle and mortar. Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the paste for 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Add the peanut and coconut milk, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Finally add the sugar and season with salt until there is a good balance of sweet and salty. The sauce can be made well in advance and reheated when needed.
  5. 5For the satay, thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers and put under a hot grill or on a barbecue, turning occasionally until cooked through. Make sure the meat gets slightly charred for that lovely flavour.
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