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Malaysian Chicken Satay Recipe

This is a full flavoured chicken satay recipe that you can easily put together for your next BBQ. Alternatively, if it's not BBQ weather, you can do it on a hot griddle or under a grill. 
The Malaysian Satay Sauce recipe is how we make satay sauce in Malaysia. It is not something resembling diluted peanut butter. We use whole roasted peanuts, spices and a lot of aromatics. It is meant to be slightly sweet and runny. The consistency is like that of pancake batter, coating the back of a spoon. 
As a side dish, serve cubed cucumber and wedges of red onion for dipping into the satay sauce. 
Prep Time2 hrs 29 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time4 hrs 44 mins
Course: Starter or Main
Cuisine: Malaysian
Servings: 2 servings
Author: May


  • 500 g skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips OR tenderised rump steak

Satay Meat Marinade

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp ground fennel
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 10 banana shallots
  • 6 crushed cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger grated/blended or 1 tbsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp belacan powder
  • 1 pack of long Bamboo skewers soaked in water to prevent burning

Satay Sauce Recipe

  • 6 dried chillies soaked in water
  • 2 stalks lemon grass lightly bruised
  • 1 thumb sized piece galangal crushed
  • 3 candlenuts
  • Blend all the above and combine with
  • 2 tsp belacan powder. Or substitute 1 tbsp fish sauce.
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts crushed to breadcrumbs. You can pulse this in a food processor.
  • 1/2 cup tamarind juice made with soaking asam/tamarind pulp in warm water and sieved
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • 1- 2 tbsp sugar or to taste


Malaysian Satay Marinade

  • Blend the garlic and shallots and combine the spices. Then add all the other ingredients.
  • Marinade the meat in this mixture for at least 2 hours or better if it is left overnight in the fridge.
  • Skewer the meat onto the bamboo skewers, don’t pack the meat too closely together to enable the satay to cook quickly and evenly.
  • For the best flavour, cook this over a charcoal grill or alternatively you can just grill it in the oven or on a griddle pan.
  • Grilling the satay
    Malaysian Chicken Satay under the grill
  • Baste the satay with a stalk of lemongrass, that has been bashed to resemble a brush, and oil while grilling.

To make the Satay Sauce:

  • 1. Fry the blended spices and belacan granules until fragrant. (Probably about 10-12 minutes)
  • 2. Add the tamarind juice and coconut milk.
  • 3. Add the crushed peanuts.
  • 4. Simmer until the sauce thickens and season with salt and sugar to taste. If it is too dry, add a bit more water.
  • Note: You can make a large batch of the satay sauce and use it as a dressing for the gado gado salad.