Recipe for Chicken Satay


  • 3 Tbs. palm sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Thai chiles, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. cincalok (available at well-stocked Asian markets)
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 4 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • For the peanut sauce:
  • 3 cups plus 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 4 oz. peanuts, coarsely ground in mortar and pestle
  • 1 Tbs. red chile flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 medium shallots, cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 Tbs. coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 Tbs. fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 4 oz. candlenut
  • 1 Tbs. belacan, toasted (available at well-stocked Asian markets)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tbs. palm sugar, broken
  • 2 Tbs. tamarind pulp
  • Kosher salt
  • For the basting liquid:
  • 1/4 cup dried whole cayenne chiles
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbs. seasoned rendered chicken fat (such as schmaltz)
  • 2 Tbs. cincalok
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • Fresh or pickled cucumbers, for garnish (optional)

Cooking Directions

Make the marinade: Puree all marinade ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor until smooth and pour over the chicken thighs. Marinate for 48 hours.

Make the sauce: Heat 3 cups of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F. Drop in the peanuts and fry until they just begin to take on color. Remove the peanuts with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. When cool enough to handle, grind them in a mortar and pestle and set aside.

Purée the chiles, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, coriander, fennel, cumin, candlenut, and belacan in a food processor until a very fine paste forms.
Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the paste and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to sizzle, 2 to 4 minutes. Pour in the peanuts, coconut milk, and palm sugar and bring to a simmer. Add tamarind and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. Let cool, season to taste with salt, and pour into small dipping bowls.
Make the basting liquid: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chiles and toast until dark but not black. Transfer to a blender and blend them with the oil. Set aside.

Combine all basting liquid ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm for basting.

Separate the chicken skins from the thighs and cut the skins into 9 pieces. Cut the thighs into 12 pieces of the same size. Thread 4 pieces of chicken and 3 pieces of skin onto each skewer, leading with the chicken meat and alternating with the skin. Refrigerate until ready to cook and up to 2 days.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Just before cooking, brush the chicken with the basting liquid. Grill the chicken skewers, flipping once and brushing once or twice with the basting liquid, until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes

Chicken Satay Photos

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