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Thai Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce

Juicy chicken thighs are grilled on skewers after marinating in a heavenly mixture of Thai flavors, topped with chopped peanuts and cilantro, then dipped into a so-good-it’s-drinkable peanut sauce. Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce is great make-ahead meal, too!

a pile of thai chicken satay skewers on a round black plate with a small dish of peanut sauce

I swear that if I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, it might be Chicken Satay Skewers. If it was served with this peanut sauce, it definitely would be.

You know me. I like the easiest recipes possible with the maximum amount of flavor. I just want to make something delicious without a lot of hassle, enjoy it, and move on with my life. When my friends comment on how much I love to cook, I always correct them by saying, “Actually, I just love to eat”!

This Chicken Satay Skewers recipe has a slightly long ingredient list than most of my recipes, the chicken needs time to marinate, and you have to make a separate sauce. But it really comes together super quickly and I promise you that it is absolutely worth the small amount of effort it takes.

Not to mention that, with rare exception, I’m typically disappointed when ordering Chicken Satay at a restaurant. Either the chicken is dry or the peanut sauce is meh. Or both! Plus it’s usually overpriced, so I’ve started avoiding it when dining out and make it frequently at home. It’s less expensive and tastes so much better, so why not?

a closeup of a pile of thai chicken satay skewers on a round black plate

Tips for making Thai Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce:

  • Keep some fresh ginger in the freezer. It lasts a very long time and can be grated straight from the freezer.
  • Make two batches of the marinade and twice the chicken. Freeze half of the chicken in the marinade so you have an easy weeknight meal at the ready.
  • Use chicken thighs instead of breasts for the juiciest chicken satay. They’re much easier to cook without drying out.
  • Use a large spoon or tongs when mixing the chicken and marinade together. The tumeric in the recipe will stain your skin (ask me how I know!)
  • If you’re using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water before using them so they don’t catch on fire.
  • Any leftover peanut sauce is fantastic with grilled vegetables, over rice or noodles, or even as a salad dressing.
  • I’ll make these even when it’s not grilling weather. Slice the chicken thighs into strips, not pieces, and place on a sheet pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through (internal temp should reach 165F).
a pile of thai chicken satay skewers on a round black plate with a small dish of peanut sauce

How do you cut chicken for Satay Skewers?

Cut the chicken thighs into pieces about 1 inch wide. They should be large enough to thread easily onto a skewer and a bit larger than bite-sized. More important than how you cut them is that you cut them all to the same size, otherwise some might overdone before they’re all finished cooking. For the thinner areas, you can “fold them over” so that they’ll all the the same thickness.

Is Chicken Satay a healthy choice?

The peanut sauce is definitely high in fat and calories. If you eat a high fat, low carb diet, it’s a good choice due to the high fat and protein with the lower carbs. I would argue that it’s much healthier than many dips or fried appetizers. If I’m watching my calories, I’ll just use a bit less of the sauce and still get my Chicken Satay fix.

a pile of thai chicken satay skewers on a round black plate

If you make this dish and share to social media, be sure to tag me so I don’t miss it! I’m @thewickednoodle on all social channels. Snap a pic if you can, too; I’d love to see your creation!

a closeup of a pile of thai chicken satay skewers on a round black plate

Thai Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

This dish is traditionally considered an appetizer, but it does make a wonderful main dish, especially if served over rice.

Ingredients

Chicken Satay Skewers

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil (avocado, peanut, or canola)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Peanut Sauce

  • 3 tbsp natural peanut butter (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut milk

Toppings (optional)

  • 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions

Make the Peanut Sauce:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except the coconut milk together in a small bowl. Whisk in a little of the coconut milk at a time until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. Refrigerate the sauce until just before you cook the chicken, then leave it at room temperature while the chicken cooks.

Marinate the chicken:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, curry powder, turmeric, honey, and fish sauce.
  2. Using a large resealable plastic bag or a large bowl, combine the chicken and marinade, gently mixing it to ensure all surfaces of the chicken pieces are covered (if using a bowl, be sure to use a spoon or tongs for this step - anything but your hands - so the tumeric doesn't stain your skin). Marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours, turning the bag occasionally to help distribute the marinade.

Cook the chicken:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
  2. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator then drain off and discard the marinade.
  3. Gently pat the chicken dry, then thread the chicken onto skewers. Brush the chicken with the oil and season it with the salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the chicken on the grill until it's completely cooked through, about 12-15 minutes (cooked chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F before consuming).
  5. Place the skewers on a serving plate and sprinkle with the peanuts and cilantro (if using). Serve them with the peanut sauce on the side for dipping (you can also just drizzle the sauce over the chicken on the serving plate then add the toppings after).

Notes

If you'd like to bake the chicken instead of grill it: Skip the skewers (you can use them but make sure to soak them first if they're made of wood as you would for the grill) and cut the chicken thighs into strips, not pieces, and place on a sheet pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through (internal temp should reach 165F).

Natural peanut butter has a better flavor and the consistency is better for this sauce, but you can use traditional commercial peanut butter if that's what you have.

Nutritional information assumes 8 servings.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 911mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 31g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

More great Thai food recipes:

Kristy Bernardo
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