Indonesian chicken satay
This chicken satay is all about succulent grilled chicken pieces on the skewer with a generous drizzle of spicy peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce.
Indonesian chicken satay – or Sate Ayam in Indonesian – is simply delicious and moreish. It’s one of the most sought-after street foods in Indonesia.
You will almost always find a seller or restaurants and other places to eat that sell this grilled chicken on the stick.
This modest but yummy dish is favored among Indonesian cuisines and is now considered a national food. The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy officially chose it with Gado-gado, Nasi goreng, Soto, and Rendang.
Satay is an influence from the Arab traders who came to the country hundreds of years ago. This food is basically the Indonesian version of Middle-Eastern kababs/ kabobs/ kebabs. They are all grilled meat pieces on a skewer.
And there are many types of satay, i.e., chicken satay, goat satay, beef satay, pork satay, etc. However, the most well-liked are the ones made with chicken and goat’s meat.
The way Indonesians make satay is easy and straightforward. We don’t put too many spices or herbs to marinate the meat before cooking.
As a matter of fact, most street food sellers do not marinate the meat at all. However, they do brush the satay with spiced oil during the grilling.
Skinless and boneless chicken, onion, garlic, ground coriander, black pepper powder, kaffir lime leaves, cooking oil, chilies, salt, and Indonesian sweet soy sauce are what you need to make this delicious Indonesian chicken satay.
When it comes to chilies, you can use either red chili powder, dried chili flakes, or fresh red bird’s eye chilies. You can also adjust the amount according to your taste. This recipe offers a not-too-spicy flavor that even your young children can enjoy.
To make life easier, I must say that this recipe is very forgiving. You don’t have to fret if you don’t have kaffir lime leaves. I understand not everybody will have these exotic fragrant leaves. So feel free to skip. But do use them if you can get them. You can always use the rest for other recipes such as Lamb Tongseng, Ayam Suwir Bumbu Bali, Ikan Pesmol, etc.
As for sweet soy sauce, please try to get the Indonesian sweet soy sauce to get the authentic flavor.
Ways to make Indonesian chicken satay at home
In this recipe, I recommend marinating the chicken before cooking. However, should you run out of time, you can prepare the spiced oil and brush the chicken pieces with it as you grill/ cook the satay. Try piercing the chicken pieces a little before putting them on the skewers to ensure your poultry is flavorsome.
Needless to say, grilling the satay on a barbecue is the best way to make this Indonesian chicken satay at home.
However, you can cook them on a griddle pan or oven grill to create an equally delicious satay.
The secret of delicious Sate Ayam
And the secret of delicious Indonesian chicken satay lies in the freshness of the meat and the satay sauce.
Because, as you and I know, chicken can smell. And unfresh poultry meat is even more no-no. So, if you want to make your own satay, get a fresh chicken.
The most recommended one is boneless chicken thighs. Because they have more fats that make the Satay moist and not dry when it is cooked
But really, I use boneless chicken breasts more often. Because my kids are not keen on chicken thighs, they don’t like fats.
So, to avoid my satay getting dry when cooking, I have to marinate it with a few spices and oil. And, of course, I also have to watch the griddle pan very closely when I cook. Because I have to make sure the chicken meat cooks correctly to be succulent and not dry.
Last but not least, no matter how well the meat pieces are grilled, if they don’t have tasty peanut sauce over them, the Sate Ayam won’t be as good.
Ways to enjoy the satay
Indonesians love their rice. It’s the main staple across the country.
Hence, plain white rice is the most common companion for this chicken satay. Another choice is having your Sate Ayam with lontong, a hard-boiled rice cake.
You can check out this post on how to make your own lontong.
As for the side, this satay is often served with a simple pickled cucumber, carrot, chili, and shallot. To make this pickle, you cube those three veggies and add a few tablespoons of white vinegar (I use lemon), a teaspoon of sugar, and salt to taste. Prepare the pickle a few hours before serving so the flavor will develop better. But if you want something similar with a more elaborate flavor, you can try my cucumber and tomato salad.
More recipe ideas from the Indonesian kitchen
Should you need more ideas for Indonesian recipes for your next dinner, try this ayam kecap manis (chicken sweet soy sauce), macaroni Schotel recipe, mie Goreng, and ayam goreng bumbu (Indonesian spicy fried chicken).
Thank you for checking this recipe. I hope you are now thinking of making the chicken satay. When you do, it would be awesome if you could share what you think about it in the comments below.
Thank you and all the best.
- Mixing bowls.
- Pestle and mortar or
- Food processor
- Griddle pan or
- Oven grill.
For the chicken satay:
- 14.11 ounces boneless chicken cut in small pieces.
- 1 small onion.
- 4 garlic cloves.
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander.
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.
- ½ teaspoon salt.
- 3 kaffir lime leaves.
- 2 tablespoons oil.
For the peanut sauce:
- 3.53 ounces roasted peanuts see the note.
- 1 onion roughly chopped.
- 5 garlic cloves.
- ½ teaspoon salt.
- 1 teaspoon sugar.
- 3 red bird’s eye chillies.
- 1 cup of water.
- ¼ cup Indonesian sweet soy sauce.
- If you use bamboo skewers, don’t forget to soak them for a few hours before you use them. It’s to prevent them from getting burned on the grill/ griddle pan.
- Pound the onion and garlic into a paste. You can use a pestle and mortar, or a food processor.
- Then heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and garlic paste, the ground coriander, black pepper, salt and lime leaves. Cook until the herbs and spices release an aroma. Set aside.
- Put the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl and add in the cooked spices. Mix and stir well until all meat pieces are coated with the spices. Set aside to marinate for at least an hour or two.
- When you are ready to make your Satay, pierce the chicken pieces on the skewers and start grilling them. You can use your oven grill, a griddle pan, or even a barbecue. I find cooking the satay on a griddle pan is effortless and quicker. But I leave the choice to your preference.
For the peanut sauce:
- Put the peanuts, onion, garlic, salt, sugar, chilli, and water in a blender. Give it a blitz until you get a creamy but a bit grainy peanut mixture.
- Pour the mixture in a small cooking pan/pot and heat it up. When the peanut sauce is boiling, let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes before you turn the heat off. Set aside.
Assemble Indonesian chicken satay:
- Arrange the skewers on a plate and pour the peanut sauce over the satay. Then drizzle it with sweet soy sauce.
- Traditionally, Indonesians would fry the peanuts themselves. I’m a bit lazy, so I use roasted salted peanuts. But of course, you can always follow the original route that is frying the nuts yourself.
- You can use chilli powder if you want. For the similar level of heat as this recipe, you would want to put 1 tsp chilli powder. If you love hotter sauce, you can always add more chillies.
Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.