Chicken Satay (Sa-Te Kai)


The little Thai CookbookOriginating in Indonesia, satay has made its way north and has been adapted to suit local taste. Satay should be cooked quickly over hot charcoals. Traditionally served with peanut sauce, it is also delicious with cucumber relish or sweet chilli sauce.

  • Yield: 40 STICKS


  • 2 lb 4 oz  (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 Asian shallots, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 coriander (cilantro) roots, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cm (1 in) piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon roasted ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon roasted ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon roasted ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder or bought Thai curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 14 fl oz/123 cups 410 ml (410 ml) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar (jaggery)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • peanut sauce or cucumber relish, to serve
How to Make It
  1. Cut the chicken into strips 4 cm (1½ in) wide x 10 cm (4 in) long x 5 mm (¼ in) thick and put them in a bowl.
  2. Using a food processor, blender or pestle and mortar, blend or pound the shallots, garlic, coriander roots and ginger to a paste.
  3. Add the paste to the chicken, along with the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, light soy sauce, vegetable oil, coconut milk, sugar and salt. Mix with your fingers or a spoon until the chicken is well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, or overnight. Turn the chicken occasionally.
  4. Soak 40 bamboo sticks, about 18–20 cm (7–8 in) long, in water for 1 hour to prevent them from burning during cooking.
  5. Thread a piece of the marinated chicken onto each bamboo stick. If the pieces are small, thread two pieces onto each stick.
  6. Heat a barbecue or grill (broiler) to high. If using the grill, line the tray with foil.
  7. Barbecue the satay sticks for 5–7 minutes on each side, or grill (broil) for 10 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred. Turn frequently and brush the marinade sauce over the meat during cooking. If using the grill, cook a good distance below the heat. Serve hot with peanut sauce or cucumber relish.

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