Chicken skewers with easy satay sauce

Chicken satay skewers.
Chicken satay skewers. Photo: William Meppem

It's easy to end up with more than one jar of peanut butter open at a time. But four! My girls refuse to eat from the bottom of the jar – I'm not sure why. Those four jars ended up making a pretty handy satay sauce, which can be used with other proteins, too, like pork, beef or tofu, or simply spooned over steamed rice with wilted greens. I like to serve these skewers with shaved wombok (Chinese cabbage), sliced hard-boiled egg, cooked green beans and rice.


650g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 5cm strips or large dice

For the marinade

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely sliced

1 tbsp coriander seeds, roughly ground

½ tsp ground turmeric

20 grinds of white pepper

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 tbsp kecap manis

1 tbsp grated palm sugar

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

For the satay sauce

½ white onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely sliced

2-3 bird's eye chillies, finely chopped

2 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp shrimp paste

1½ tbsp coconut (or grapeseed) oil

2 tbsp grated palm sugar

2 tsp kecap manis

3 tsp fish sauce

200g crunchy peanut butter

200ml coconut milk

juice of 1 lime


1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, toss with the chicken to coat, and marinate for 2 hours or overnight.

2. For the sauce, blitz the onion, garlic, lemongrass, chilli and coriander seeds, then add the shrimp paste and blitz until smooth. Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the blitzed paste mixture and fry for about 4 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the sugar, kecap manis and fish sauce until combined, then add the peanut butter and coconut milk. Stir to combine and reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes to make a smooth sauce. If too stiff, add some water to thin.

3. Adjust the salt (fish sauce) and sugar to taste, then add the lime juice before serving. This will keep for about a week in the fridge, you can freshen it with more lime juice.

4. Heat a barbecue or griddle pan on high. Skewer the chicken pieces (if using bamboo skewers, soak in water first) and grill for a few minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Serve with the sauce on the side; great accompanied with Chinese cabbage, coriander and rice.