Authentic Thai Satay Recipe

Chicken satay
Sutthiwat Srikhrueadam / EyeEm/Getty Images
  • 65 mins
  • Prep: 50 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2-4 as a Main Entree
Ratings (155)

There's satay, and then there's real satay! If you've never had the real stuff, then you'll fall in love with the succulent taste of this special Thai satay recipe.

Strips of chicken or beef are marinated in a special Thai paste, then skewered and grilled or broiled in the oven. It is then served with homemade peanut sauce for the ultimate taste sensation.

Satay makes a great party food and the kids will love it. For a vegetarian version, see this Thai vegetarian satay recipe.

What You'll Need

  • For the Meat:
  • 2 beef steaks or 8 boneless chicken thighs, cut into small, thin pieces
  • 1 package wooden skewers
  • For the Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup minced lemongrass, fresh or frozen
  • 2 shallots or 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chiles, sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (available at Asian food stores)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar (you need all of this)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For the Sauce:
  • Peanut dipping sauce

How to Make It

Make the Marinade

  1. Make the marinade by placing the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, chiles, galangal or ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and oil in a food processor or chopper. Process well.
  2. Taste-test the marinade. You should taste sweet, spicy, and salty. In order for the satay to taste its best, the strongest flavors should be sweet and salty. Add more sugar or more fish sauce (in place of salt) to adjust the taste. You also can add more chile if you want it spicier.

    Prepare the Meat

    1. Cut beef or chicken into small pieces or strips—thinner is better.  Place in a bowl and pour the marinade over.  Stir well to combine.
    2. Allow at least 2 hours for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).

    Cook and Serve the Satay

    1. When ready to cook, thread meat onto the skewers. Fill up to 3/4 of the skewer, leaving the lower half empty so that the person grilling has a "handle" to easily turn the satay.
    2. Grill the satay, basting the first time you turn it with a little of the leftover marinade from the bowl. Depending on how thin your meat is, the satay should be done in 10 to 20 minutes.
    3. Serve with Thai jasmine rice and Thai peanut sauce for dipping. For extra special occasions, serve with Thai coconut rice.