Thai chicken satay is a classic Thai appetizer and you must not miss it if you want to experience the luxury of superbly fresh flavors with delicious peanut dipping sauce and a cooling cucumber relish!
I am fond of all the Oriental cuisines which you can easily guess from the published recipes in my blog, but my love for Thai cuisine is one of a kind! Today’s recipe of classic Thai chicken satay is a quick glimpse of why I am so much in love with Thai food! You may be of the opinion that both Thai & Indian food are generally spicy which is why it seems to be natural for an Indian to fall in love with Thai food easily. It may be partially true but there is more to it. Thai and Indian food belong to two entirely different flavor families and the reason I am attracted to Thai food is due to their perfect balance of flavors and that too using freshest of ingredients. Just like this Thai chicken satay, any Thai recipe has the perfect union of spiciness, sweetness & tartness. Thai chicken satay is a mind-blowing appetizer and after savoring it in an authentic Thai restaurant, I had to make it at home!
There are countless recipes of Thai chicken satay available over the internet and I am sure each one will turn out good. I used a simple version from Marion’s kitchen simply because she is a native of Thailand and understand Thai cuisine more deeply; plus, also because her peanut sauce and cucumber relish, which is also called ‘ajat’ in Thai, proved to be two most amazing condiments accompanying the delicious chicken satay. I had made peanut sauce before but this one turned out to be the tastiest of all. Only improvisation I added was making my own peanut butter as I didn’t have it handy. Making peanut butter is as easy peasy as churning your food processor, so I don’t mind making it at all! Thai chicken satay served without this peanut sauce is almost a crime and I wasn’t ready to commit it whatsoever! The cucumber-onion-chili relish, which is a new addition to my repertoire, is another stunner which proved the love for freshness of Thai cuisine all over again.
This recipe of Thai chicken satay is really simple. There are just 3 ingredients to marinate the chicken and that is if you consider salt as a separate ingredient. The curry powder does all its magic to the chicken and you can skip the long marination time, though it is always recommended to marinate chicken with spices for about 4 hours if you do not have time for overnight marination. The choice of curry powder entirely depends on your desirable heat level. I used a mild curry powder which is what Marion also used in her Thai chicken satay. You can definitely use a hot curry powder if you like more kick in your chicken satay. Another important thing to note to make an absolutely perfect and succulent Thai chicken satay is to use chicken thigh meat instead of chicken breasts. I am not at all fond of chicken breast as they are practically impenetrable by any sort of flavors and are very easy to overcook turning the meat too hard to even chew, forget about succulence!
Lastly, let me reiterate the beauty of peanut sauce which is the real star of this Thai recipe! Accidentally I made a lot of peanut sauce because I used a little too much Thai red curry paste and to balance that I had to use enough peanut butter. I was wondering if we will be able to finish off all the peanut sauce as this one doesn’t come with a long shelf life! But man! On the dinner table, everyone was interested on the peanut sauce way more than the chicken satay itself and it was finished in a jiffy! I was so amazed to find this peanut sauce to be super addictive; don’t even think about making Thai chicken satay without peanut sauce as you won’t be able to grasp the wholesome essence of Thai food if you do so. This whole palate of Thai chicken satay with peanut sauce and cucumber relish is a hearty meal in itself and when you make this at home with all your love and care, it will beat the experience of any luxury restaurant as I truly believe that homemade is always the best! Enjoy your Thai rendezvous with this delightful Thai chicken satay and come back to thank me later!
- Chicken thigh – 500 gms, boneless & skinless
- Curry powder – 1 tbsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
- Roasted peanut – ¾ cup
- Thai red curry paste – 2 tbsp
- Coconut milk – 200 ml (1 cup)
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
- Fish sauce – 1 tsp
- Sugar – 2 tsp
- Cucumber – 1
- Red onion – 1, small
- Fresh red chili – 1
- White vinegar – ½ cup
- Sugar – ½ cup
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs. Cut each chicken thigh into 1-inch cubes. Take them in a large bowl.
- Add curry powder, salt and vegetable oil to the chicken. Mix everything well to coat each chicken piece and let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Soak about 10 bamboo skewers in water and let them rest inside until you are ready to grill.
- Slice the cucumber into thin rounds and then cut each round into quarters. Slice the onion thinly. Slice the red chili thinly. Take everything in a bowl big enough to soak.
- Heat half cup of white vinegar, half cup of sugar and salt in a saucepan and let the sugar melt completely which would take about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
- Once the vinegar mixture is cooled down, pour it over cucumber, onion & chili mix. Let them soak while you prepare the remaining items.
- Peanut sauce requires peanut butter; but I didn’t have it handy. That doesn’t stop me from making a delicious peanut sauce to accompany my chicken satay. To make peanut butter at home, follow the below instructions.
- If using raw peanut, peel and toast them until golden brown. Transfer the toasted peanut to a food chopper or food processor. Using the chopping blade, process them until finely chopped. Keep processing the peanuts until you see the peanuts have started releasing their oil. This will take a while, about 5 minutes or more depending on the power of your food processor. To help process the peanuts, you can drizzle about a teaspoon of vegetable oil while operating the processor [if your peanuts are very oily, you can skip the oil]. Once the peanuts are all chopped up and becomes a thick & smooth paste, your peanut butter is ready. Set it aside until needed. If you have readymade peanut butter at home, skip this step and use half a cup of peanut butter when needed as instructed below.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan and once the oil is hot, add Thai red curry paste to it. Cook the curry paste for couple of minutes until it breaks down and becomes fragrant.
- Now add the coconut milk and stir to mix it well with curry paste ensuring there is no lump of the curry paste. Keep the heat on low to avoid burning of spice paste.
- Next add all the remaining ingredients to the saucepan – prepared peanut butter, fish sauce and sugar. Whisk well to make a uniform sauce. Taste for the balance of sweetness and saltiness and adjust with fish sauce or sugar as per your liking. If your sauce seems to be too thick, you may add few teaspoons of water to loosen it a little.
- Once you get your perfect balance of the sauce and the desired consistency, switch off the flame and let it rest in the saucepan. You may reheat the peanut sauce before serving.
- Take out the soaked bamboo sticks from water. Skewer 4 to 5 pieces of chicken in each skewer depending on the length of your bamboo sticks.
- Heat a grill pan and brush it with some vegetable oil. Once the grill pan is very hot, place the chicken satay sticks on the pan in a single layer. Do not put one stick on top of another as it will prevent uniform cooking; you may have to cook them in batches.
- Cook the chicken satay for 5 minutes each side on medium flame until the chicken is browned all over and no trace of pink is left. The chicken cubes will firm up as they are cooked.
- Once the chicken cubes are completely cooked, take them out of the pan and your chicken satay is ready. Serve the delicious Thai chicken satay warm with peanut sauce and cucumber relish. Enjoy!