Chicken Satay (Saté Ajam)


Recently I posted a recipe for goat satay, saté kambing, prepared sous-vide. This had turned out to so well that I wanted to make it again soon, but this time with chicken. Unlike goat (or lamb) shoulder, chicken meat is tender and does not need to be cooked sous-vide to become tender. This changes the recipe a bit, as there will be no liquid released by the meat during the sous-vide cooking process. And so instead of only using the coconut cream that floats on top of coconut milk, this recipe uses all of the coconut milk. It is surprisingly simple, and surprisingly delicious. The peanut sauce is outstanding.

In Indonesia, satay refers to a skewer with grilled meat (like kebab). In the Netherlands, satay is associated with the peanut sauce that is usually served with the meat. The nice thing about this recipe is that you use the leftover marinade to make the peanut sauce. It has great depth of flavor, is absolutely delicious, and so easy to make. In the Netherlands store-bought satay sauce is very popular, but this homemade version is so much better!

You could use chicken breast to make this, but boneless and skinless chicken thigh is a much better choice as it doesn’t dry out as easily. You could also prepare this recipe with pork tenderloin; then it would be called saté babi.



For 6 servings (18 skewers)

1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) boneless skinless chicken thigh meat

80 ml (1/3 cup) kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)

juice of 1 lime

25 grams garlic, about 6 cloves, roughly chopped

100 grams sliced shallots, about 1/2 cup

30 grams red chilli peppers, about 3, or to taste

40 grams sliced ginger, about 3 Tbsp

40 grams sliced lemongrass, about 4 pieces

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp trassi powder (optional)

1 tsp salt

100 grams (2/3 cups) roasted unsalted peanuts

1 can (400 ml/14 oz) coconut milk

sambal ulek, to taste

more kecap manis, to taste



Roughly chop 25 grams of garlic, 100 grams of shallots, 40 grams of ginger, 40 grams of lemongrass, and 30 grams of red chillis.


Coconut milk has the cream floating on top.


Transfer the cream of a can of coconut milk into a small bowl and reserve.


Put the chopped aromatics in a blender and add the remaining thin coconut milk.


Add 80 ml of kecap manis.


Add the juice of a lime.


Add a teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander. Add 1/4 of trassi powder if you have it. Trassi is fermented shrimp and adds umami.


Blend until smooth.


Cut a kilo of chicken thighs into chunks, trimming the fat.


Put the chicken pieces into a bowl and add the marinade.


Stir so the chicken is uniformly covered with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate for 1-4 hours.


Soak the skewers in cold water for about 10 minutes so they won’t burn as easily (do not soak them for too long, as they will become too soft).


Drain the chicken in a colander, reserving the marinade. Stir the chicken in the colander to help the marinade to drain away.


Put the chicken on the skewers.


To make the peanut sauce, put the marinade in a blender together with the reserved coconut cream and 100 grams of roasted peanuts.


Blend until smooth.


Pour the sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower the heat.


Add kecap manis to taste…


…as well as sambal ulek.


Taste again to make sure the sauce is right. Remember not to eat all the sauce straight away.


Grill the chicken skewers on a grill or under the broiler.


Serve with the peanut sauce. The Dutch way is to serve the sauce on top of the skewers.

Wine pairing

This is great with a full bodied gewurztraminer from Alto Adige (dry) or Alsace (usually off-dry).



Braised cauliflower is a great way to prepare cauliflower. The cauliflower is braised in wine with anchovies, onions, and olives.

10 thoughts on “Chicken Satay (Saté Ajam)

    1. Do look at your supermarket selection first!. I live within a 10-km range of four very ordinary supermarkets but have a choice of at least 4-6 brands of the sweet Indonesian soy at each! Just look at where you buy your everyday hoi sin, oyster, fish, tamari, manifold soys etc sauces and I am certain you will find it 🙂 ! I get thru’ at least half a bottle every week and could not imagine life without . . .

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Vive la difference! In Asia and Australia sate skewers are always served dry just off the grill flame with a spicy sauce on the side. I regard them as a another delightfully tasty street food available say on a walk on Singapore harbourfront or at any market or almost any hotel swimming pool as a ‘bite to have’ in between and betwixt! Personally I oft serve them with that first drink or three at a barbecue whilst waiting for the main items. To me your dish, I am certain quite delicious, is one of chicken kebabs . . . as I said, geography and culture do make a difference 🙂 !

    Liked by 1 person

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