Roberta’s Satay Chicken

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Some of my favourite memories from trips to Malaysia and Indonesia are of eating satay chicken skewers from street stalls.

I’ve tried all sorts of complicated recipes at home to recreate the flavour, without success. Then I came across Ayam satay sauce – made in Malaysia from peanuts, coconut milk, lots of herbs and spices (and no additives).

I’m not opposed to a quality shortcut, especially when it tastes this good. Part of the charm of a genuine satay is the smokiness from a charcoal grill. If you don’t have one, get your grill pan hot and let the meat get a good charring.

Serves 4 as an entrée, 2 as a main


    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
    • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 600g chicken thigh fillets
    • 250ml Ayam satay sauce
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk
    • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
    • salt flakes, to taste
    • lime wedges, for serving

Pineapple Salsa

    • 1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and finely diced
    • 1 small red onion, finely diced
    • 1/4 pineapple, finely diced
    • 10 mint leaves, finely shredded

Combine oil, garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin.

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, add to oil mixture, mixing well to combine, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make Pineapple Salsa: combine all ingredients and set aside.

Combine satay sauce, coconut milk and sambal oelek in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Set aside to keep warm.

Heat barbecue or char-grill pan to hot.

Thread chicken onto skewers, sprinkle with salt and grill for about 2 minutes each side, until just cooked through.

Serve with Pineapple Salsa, satay sauce and a lime wedge on the side.

Roberta Muir is a food, wine and travel consultant, writer and cookbook author. Visit her website for more recipes and insights.

What’s your favourite Malaysian or Indonesian dish?

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