My Mother-in-Law's Secret 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 (93)

There's satay, and then there's my mother-in-law's secret satay! If you've never had the real stuff, then you'll fall in love with the succulent taste of this special recipe. Strips of chicken or beef are marinated in a special Thai paste, then skewered and grilled on the BBQ or broiled in the oven. It is then served with homemade peanut sauce for the ultimate taste sensation. Even your kids will love it. Satay also makes a great party food! (For a vegetarian version, see my: Thai Vegetarian Satay)

What You'll Need

  • 2 beef steaks OR 8 boneless chicken thighs, cut into small, thin pieces
  • 1 package wooden skewers
  • Satay Marinade:
  • 1/4 c. minced lemongrass , fresh or frozen
  • 2 shallots OR 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 tbsp. dark soy sauce (available at Asian food stores)
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 6 tbsp. brown sugar (you need all of this)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Peanut Dipping Sauce: see my Mother-in-Law's Satay Sauce

How to Make It

  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Process well.
  2. Taste-test the marinade - you should taste sweet, spicy, and salty. The strongest tastes should be SWEET and SALTY in order for the finished satay to taste its best. Add more sugar or more fish sauce (in place of salt) to adjust the taste. You can also add more chili if you want it spicier.
  3. Cut meat into small pieces or strips - thinner is better.  Place in a bowl and pour the marinade over.  Stir well to combine. Allow at least 2 hours for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).
  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 cook in 10 to 20 minutes.
  3. Serve with Thai jasmine rice and my Mother-in-Law's Satay Sauce for dipping. For extra special occasions, serve with Thai Coconut Rice.