Malaysian Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay skewers with a bowl of peanut dipping sauce on the side
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Recipe Source:
Sweet, Savory, Spicy by Sarah Tiong ($25.00, Page Street Publishing Co, 2020) Photo credit: Ben Cole


Chicken Satay

  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp rice bran, canola or grapeseed oil
  • 6 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

Serving Suggestions

  • Store-bought peanut sauce
  • Thickly sliced cucumber Thinly sliced red onion


  • Grill
  • Bamboo skewers


Chicken Satay Marinade

  1. Mix together the curry powder, turmeric, brown sugar, onion, garlic, salt and oil in a large bowl.
  2. Add the chicken thigh pieces to the marinade and combine thoroughly. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour (or preferably overnight in the refrigerator).

Chicken Satay Skewers

  1. Soak 22 to 24 thin bamboo skewers in warm water for 30 minutes
  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (400 to 450°F).
  3. Thread 3 to 5 pieces of chicken onto each skewer, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. The chicken should cover only the top third of the skewers.
  4. Grill the skewers for 2 to 3 minutes per side, then move the skewers to medium heat (350°F) and cook the skewers for a further 2 to 3 minutes per side, until the chicken is opaque all the way through when cut open.
  5. Serve the satay skewers with the Peanut Sauce, cucumber and red onion.


Satay—specifically, Malaysian chicken satay—punctuates most of the happy family barbecues in my life. The juicy chicken pieces, which are covered in the warmth of curry spices and a hint of sweetness and then paired with a creamy peanut sauce, hold a special place in my heart.

There is nothing greater than seeing the family gather around the barbecue as they flip skewers of satay, sip an icy beverage and have a good time.

The marinade in this recipe works brilliantly with beef and pork too.