Thai Chicken Satay skewers with Thai Peanut Sauce – the gold standard of authentic Thai food! Marinated chicken with a peanut sauce that’s so good, everyone will be begging for the recipe – and will be astonished how EASY it is!
Thai Chicken Satay skewers
At the risk of sounding totally obnoxious – this is a recipe for Chicken Satay skewers with Thai Peanut Sauce that truly stacks up to your favourite Thai restaurant.
When it hits the stove, the smell is SO GOOD you will just know they are going to taste amazing.
Then you have a taste of the peanut dipping sauce…… and you’ll just shake your head, wondering how the heck can something so simple taste so good??!!
Or you might be thinking – OMG, I finally cracked it, this tastes EXACTLY like the authentic Chicken Satay I had in Thailand!!! Oh wait, maybe that’s just in my head.
What goes in Chicken Satay and Thai Peanut Sauce
It might surprise you how few ingredients go in Chicken Satay and the peanut sauce! Here’s what you need:
The BEST Thai Red Curry Paste
Thai Red Curry paste is a “secret ingredient” in both the marinade and the sauce. You just need about 2.5 tbsp which doesn’t sound like much, but we don’t want this to taste of red curry. We’re just using it as a flavour enhancer.
I use Maesri Thai Red Curry Paste which I think is the best by a long shot. I also use this same brand for Green Curry and Red Curry for quick midweek curries.
It also happens to be the cheapest, at around $1.30 per can at major supermarkets in Australia like Coles, Woolies and Harris Farms.
How to make Thai Peanut Sauce
Thai Peanut Sauce is almost unbelievably simple to make. It’s literally just a 5 minute plonk-and-simmer job:
- coconut milk
- red curry paste
- pure peanut butter (see below for more info)
- soy sauce
- sugar and salt
“For the BEST Thai Peanut Sauce, use natural peanut butter”
While commercial peanut butter spread is ok, if you want a really great authentic Thai Peanut Sauce that truly stacks up to your favourite Thai restaurant, use pure peanut butter. You’ll find it in the health food section of most supermarket nowadays.
Pure peanut butter is made with JUST peanuts – no sugar, oil or other additives – so the peanut flavour is stronger.
Also, natural peanut butter is thinner than commercial peanut butter spreads (see below) which means you need less water to thin the sauce = better peanut flavour in Thai Peanut Sauce!
Ahead of publishing this recipe, I tried the Thai Peanut Sauce with natural pure peanut butter vs commercial peanut butter (Kraft, now Bega) side by side to confirm this!
I’m a firm believer that Chicken Satay skewers should be tasty enough to eat on their own and the peanut sauce just takes it over the top. So I like to marinade the chicken to make it extra tasty.
Chicken Satay Marinade
Here’s what you need for the Thai Chicken Satay Marinade:
- Chicken pieces – chicken thighs yield the juiciest chicken skewers but breast or tenderloin are fine
- Red curry paste – see above for my recommended brand Maesri
- Curry powder – any is fine here
- Coconut milk
- Salt and sugar
It’s best to marinade for at least 3 hours but even 20 minutes is long enough.
Cooking the Chicken Skewers
Chicken satay is a summertime favourite to cook on the BBQ. But I usually cook it on the stove for convenience.
For a really authentic Thai experience, cook the Chicken Satay over charcoal like it’s done in Thailand!
Thai Chicken Satay is a popular starter on Thai restaurants menus along with Thai Fish Cakes. But it’s also ideal served as a main. Try it with fluffy Asian Coconut Rice – it’s amazing!
If you want to go all out with a homemade Thai Banquet, serve this Chicken Satay as the starter with Thai Chilli Basil Stir Fry, Massaman Curry, Green Curry or Red Curry with Coconut Rice as the mains. Or Pad See Ew! ~ Nagi x
Recipe source: This is an original creation but the roots of this recipe are from various Thai cookbooks and renowned Thai food experts like David Thompson and Sujet Saenkham (owner of the famous Spice I Am restaurants). Except I’ve made this recipe so it’s accessible to everyday cooks – without compromising!
Thai Chicken Satay
Watch how to make it
Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Recipe video above. Thai Chicken Satay Skewers are tasty enough to eat plain but we’d never skip Thai Peanut Sauce for dipping! The essential ingredient for a really great peanut sauce is natural peanut butter with no added sugar or oil. But normal peanut butter will work fine too.
- 400 g/14oz coconut milk (1 can), full fat
- 13-16 bamboo skewers (, 16cm / 6.5″ long (Note 1))
- 600 g / 1.2lb chicken thighs (, boneless skinless, cut into 2cm/4/5″ pieces (Note 2))
- 1 tbsp curry powder ((Note 3))
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 2 tsp red curry paste ((Note 4))
- 1 tsp salt
Thai Peanut Sauce:
- 2 tbsp red curry paste ((Note 4))
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter, smooth ((Note 5))
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce ((Note 6))
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar ((Note 7))
- 3/4 cup (185ml) water
- 2 tbsp peanuts finely chopped
- Lime wedges ((optional))
- Coriander / cilantro leaves and sliced red chilli ((optional))
- If cooking on a BBQ or over charcoal, soak skewers for 2 hours in water.
Thai Chicken Satay Skewers:
- Mix together the chicken and Marinade with 1/4 cup of coconut milk, then set aside for at least 20 minutes, or overnight.
- Thread onto skewers – I do 5 pieces each.
- Heat 1.5 tbsp oil in a large non stick pan over medium high heat.
- Cook skewers in batches for 3 minutes on each side until golden.
Thai Peanut Sauce:
- Place remaining coconut milk and Peanut Sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium low heat.
- Stir to combine then simmer, stirring every now and then, for 5 minutes.
- Adjust consistency with water – it should be a pourable but thickish sauce.
- Cover with lid and keep warm while cooking skewers.
- Pour some sauce into a bowl. Sprinkle with some peanuts – stir some through if you want.
- Pile satay skewers onto a platter, sprinkle with remaining peanuts, coriander and chilli.
- Serve with sauce on the side for dipping.
1. Skewers used for Asian chicken satay tend to be shorter than Western skewers. I like them because they fit in skillets! Feel free to make giant ones with longer skewers.
2. Chicken – can be substituted with breast or tenderloin but thigh is best for juiciest chicken. Can also sub with beef or pork – use a good, nicely marbled cut suitable for quick cooking.
3. Curry powder – any is fine here. I use Clives or Keens.
4. Red curry paste – The best Thai red curry paste (in my opinion) is Maesri which comes in small cans and also happens to be the cheapest. Sold at large supermarkets (Coles, Woolies, Harris), Asian stores. But any brand will do because it’s an enhancer rather than key flavouring.
If using homemade Thai red curry paste, add 1 tsp fish sauce + 1 tsp sugar into chicken marinade, and 2 tsp fish sauce + 2 tsp sugar into Peanut Sauce (homemade doesn’t have the seasonings jar paste does).
5. Natural peanut butter is 100% peanuts and has a stronger peanut flavour than commercial peanut butter which has sugar and other additives. It is also thinner so less water is required to achieve the right consistency. Pretty widely available nowadays in the health food section of supermarkets.
Can use normal peanut butter spread but the peanut flavour is not as good and sauce will be thicker. Do not be tempted to dilute with too much water – it will dilute the flavour.
Sub: 1 cup raw unsalted peanuts blitzed until smooth with 1/2 cup or so coconut milk called for in the peanut sauce (helps make it super smooth).
6. Dark soy sauce adds seasoning and deepens colour of sauce. Can sub with light or all purpose soy sauce but sauce colour will be lighter.
7. Cider vinegar can be subbed with plain white vinegar. Lime juice, rice vinegar or other clear vinegars are an ok substitute but not 100% authentic.
8. Peanut Sauce – makes more than you will need, probably only use 1/3. Hard to make less, also this recipe uses a whole can of coconut milk. Lasts 1 week in the fridge – or freeze.
Use leftover for:
- Sauce for for rice, noodles, veggies (raw or steamed)
- Make a simple Gado Gado with steam veg, hard boiled eggs and rice
- Dip for prawn crackers and vegetables
- As the dressing for this Chinese Chicken Salad, Satay Noodle Salad, Peanut Noodle Salad or Sesame Noodles
9. Nutrition is VERY overstated. It assumes all the peanut sauce is consumed but only realistically, only 1/3 or so is likely.
Life of Dozer
I think he though I said PELICAN satay, not chicken satay……???