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Chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce

Dan Toombs / 18 April 2021

Dan Toombs, The Curry Guy, shares his recipe for juicy Thai chicken satay skewers served with a peanut sauce.

Chicken satay skewers
Chicken satay skewers from The Curry Guy Thai by Dan Toombs

Preparation time

20 minutes

Cooking time

15 minutes




  • 1kg (2lb 2oz) skinless chicken breast or thigh fillets, cut into bite-size pieces

For marinade

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 lime leaves, stalks removed and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced lemongrass
  • 1 generous tbsp chopped galangal
  • 200ml (generous 3⁄4 cup) coconut milk
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp palm or white sugar
  • 1 tbsp white wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

For the peanut sauce

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 400ml (13⁄4 cups) thick coconut milk
  • 200ml (generous 3⁄4 cup) smooth or chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce* (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp tamarind water (or use more lime juice)

*Most fish sauces contain gluten but gluten-free brands are available.


I’m a big fan of Thai chicken satay with peanut sauce. Although it isn’t necessary, it is best to marinate the chicken for at least a day. You could get away with 30 minutes but a longer marinating time will get you much tastier results.

As the chicken soaks up that incredible marinade, it not only tenderises it but makes it much juicier when cooked. This recipe could be used with thinly sliced pork or beef – both are also popular at Thai restaurants and takeaways. Pork is the meat of choice in Thailand but chicken is the most popular in the UK.

To make the chicken satay skewers

To make the marinade, toast the cumin and coriander seeds over a medium heat in a dry frying pan until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a smooth powder. Add the ground white pepper and turmeric.

Now add the lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal to the mortar and pound with the cumin, coriander and pepper into a fine paste. Add the coconut milk, cinnamon, sugar, vinegar and salt and stir well to combine.

Put the chicken into a bowl and pour the marinade over it. Work the marinade into the meat with one of your hands so it is very well coated. Set aside. For best results, marinate overnight but this isn’t necessary.

Now make the peanut sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the red curry paste. Stir it around in the oil for about 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk followed by the peanut butter and stir to combine until the peanut butter melts into the coconut milk. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar and check for seasoning, adding more fish sauce and/or sugar if you prefer a saltier/sweeter flavour.

Finish the sauce by adding the lime juice and tamarind water. It will thicken as it cools; to thin it out again, just heat it up.

Now to cook the chicken. Soak wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Then skewer the meat onto each skewer.

I prefer to cook these on the barbecue but a griddle (grill) pan will do fine if you would rather cook indoors. For the barbecue, build a fire in one half of the barbecue and leave the other half without any coals.

This way, you can cook the chicken over the heat without burning the skewers. If cooking indoors on a griddle pan, lightly grease the pan with oil and cook over a medium–high heat on one side for about 5 minutes before flipping the skewers over to cook the other side.

Continue turning until the chicken is cooked through and you are happy with the appearance. Serve with warmed peanut sauce.

The Curry Guy Thai

Extracted from The Curry Guy Thai by Dan Toombs, Quadrille, £15

Try one of our other Thai recipes, including recipes for pad Thaimassaman yellow Thai curry, and vegetable Thai curry

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.