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Chicken Satay with Indonesian Peanut Sauce



For the chicken satay

  • 1 “cone” piloncillo (or palm sugar*)
  • 2 large red chili peppers, halved, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 inch fresh turmeric, minced
  • 3 candlenuts, lightly toasted (macadamia nuts can be subbed here)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seed, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 chicken tenders, diced

For the peanut sauce

  • 2 ½ cups raw peanuts, shelled
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 to 5 bird’s eye chili slices (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar syrup
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (tamari for gluten-free)
  • 2 kafir lime leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon shallots
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)


For the chicken satay

  1. Soak satay sticks in water for about 4 hours before you plan on using them. Place the palm sugar in a saucepan and cover halfway with water. Boil down until it becomes syrupy.
  2. Place all ingredients except chicken into a food processor and process until paste-like.
  3. Transfer the paste into a heavy pan and simmer over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes or until water is evaporated and the mixture gets a bit darker. Take off heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Combine 2 tablespoons of palm sugar syrup with the paste. Combine with chicken until chicken is completely covered, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Make the peanut sauce while marinating. (recipe below)
  6. After the peanut sauce is made and 1 hour (at least) has elapsed, retrieve the chicken and the skewers. Spear four pieces of meat tightly on each skewer until all the chicken has been skewered.
  7. Grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, flipping the skewers halfway through, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with peanut sauce.

For the peanut sauce

  1. While the chicken is marinating, heat a wok or saucepan with about 3 inches of vegetable oil. Fry the peanuts, garlic, chili slices, and ginger until the garlic and peanuts are golden brown.
  2. Transfer the ingredients (sans oil) into either a mortar and pestle or a food processor. If using the former, grind all ingredients for about 10-15 minutes or until very finely ground and peanut-butter like. If using the latter, process all the ingredients together until they have become peanut butter.
  3. Place the peanut mixture into a wok or heavy saucepan. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut milk, sweet soy sauce, palm sugar syrup, and lime leaves. Bring to a simmer and slowly add in the rest of the coconut milk. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the lime juice and sprinkle with shallots before serving. Cover to keep hot while cooking the chicken.


*If you can’t find palm sugar, use about 1 cup dark brown sugar with 1/2 cup water.

Keywords: chicken, peanut, satay, savory, dinner, sauce, indonesian