Thai Satay Stick Party Appetizer

Chicken Satay Party Style
Easy Thai Chicken Satay (all dressed up for a party!), served here with peanut satay sauce and fresh coriander. D.Schmidt for About.com
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 15 servings
Ratings (13)

These Thai satay sticks are simple to make and result in an incredibly flavorful appetizer that will make you the star of the party. The secret to making good satay is all in the marinade/paste, and this one is tried and true, passed down through my husband's family for many generations. Satay is always a huge hit with any crowd, as well as a special taste treat for your family. In general, I prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for satay, but if you're worried about fat, you can also substitute chicken breast. The best part is that it can be made either on the grill or in the over - perfect all year round. The recipe is arranged for serving a party, but feel free to serve it anyway you want - it's all Thai, and it's all good!

What You'll Need

  • 1 lb.(.46 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into bite-size pieces or strips (breast meat can also be used))
  • Optional: 1 small red bell pepper (cut into small squares)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemongrass (minced; or bottled/frozen lemongrass)
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper (available in most supermarkets)
  • 1 fresh red chili (minced, or 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili)
  • 4 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. galangal (or ginger, grated)
  • 3 tsp. white sugar*
  • 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (or other vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

How to Make It

  1. Place all 'marinade' ingredients in a food processor or chopper or finely mince everything by hand, stirring well to combine. Note: this marinade-paste needs to taste salty-sweet at this point followed by sweet. It may taste a tad too salty at this point, but remember it will be distributed over the chicken. More sugar can be added if not sweet enough, or more chili for more bite (note that chili flakes release their heat during cooking).
  1. Pour marinade over prepared chicken and red pepper (if using) and stir well. Set in the refrigerator to marinate 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours, covered). While chicken is marinating, place 10 to 15 satay sticks in your sink and cover with water (prevents burning).
  2. Skewer the marinated chicken onto wooden satay sticks, or use stainless steel kind if you have them. If serving the satay as in the photo, slide red pepper piece on first followed by the chicken. Place meat at ends of the stick, and not too much per stick (see photo). Keep as much marinade on the meat as you can, and save any that remains.

To Cook Satay in Oven: 

  1. Place prepared satay on a foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheet (foil can be turned up at the edges to prevent spilling), and set oven to BROIL.
  2. Place satay on second-to-highest rung in your oven and allow to broil 5 minutes before turning.
  3. After turning the first time, baste with leftover marinade. Continue turning every 4-5 minutes until satays are nicely browned and charred at edges, and meat is well cooked (opaque).
  4. Red pepper will be slightly browned or charred at edges too.

To Grill:

  1. Simply place satays on a hot grill.
  2. Baste with leftover marinade after turning them for the first time.
  3. Cook until meat is nicely browned with charred edges and is opaque inside (about 15 minutes).

To Serve:

  • Serve with my easy satay peanut sauce for dipping.
  • If making this satay for a party, get ready some shot glasses (or other small glasses). Place some peanut sauce (does not need to be heated) in the bottom of each glass and pop in a satay stick.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander, then watch how fast these beauties disappear!

*Palm sugar or brown sugar can be used if you don't mind the meat having a darker color (increase the amount, in this case, to 1 Tbsp.)