It’s been some 16 years since I left Malaysia and I’ve missed having good, traditional satay. Both Dunster and I have had many different variations of meat on skewers at restaurants and some really good Malaysian satay versions at my friends’ parties but they are few times in between. This is the 1st time I’ve attempted to make my very own satay, this is Malaysian chicken satay and peanut sauce using Poh Ling Yeow’s recipe.

Serves 4; Preparation Time: 30 mins+Overnight Marinate Time; Cooking time: ±60 mins


  • 20-25 skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
  • 1kg chicken thigh fillets or beef tenderloin, cut into 1x2x3cm pieces

Marinade Ingredients: to be blended into paste

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin seeds
  • 5 shallots or 1 medium red onion, peeled & chopped
  • 2 clove garlic sliced
  • 1 tsp ground or 2cm fresh turmeric, peeled & chopped
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, pale part only and remove any dry outer layers, sliced finely
  • 1cm galangal peeled & chopped
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbs sunflower oil

Homemade Satay Sauce Ingredients:

  • 15 shallots or 2 medium red onions, peeled & chopped
  • 20 dried red chillies, stalks discarded, deseeded, soaked in boiling water till soft & drained
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 2cm galangal, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, pale part only and remove any dry outer layers, sliced finely
  • 1 – 2 tbs tamarind paste (also can be extracted from pulp)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 200ml vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 500g salted, roasted, crushed peanuts

Fruit/Vegetable to serve:

  • half a pineapple cut into bite sized pieces – optional
  • red onion, cut into 3 cm pieces & layers separated
  • cucumber, cut into 3 cm pieces or into angled chunks

Ketupat (Compressed Rice Cakes) Ingredients: optional

  • 2 cups jasmine rice

Preparation – Marinade:

  1. Pound lemongrass, shallots, galangal and garlic in a mortar (with pestle) to a fine paste. (or use a blender.)
  2. Toast cumin and coriander in a fry pan till fragrant, mortar and pestle it, then place in a bowl.
  3. Add lemongrass mixture to toasted spices.
  4. Then add brown sugar, salt, dark soy and oil.
  5. Marinate meat overnight in a snaplock bag (or container with lid) making sure all the air is pushed out first and meat is totally covered in marinade.
  6. Skewer meat and barbeque or grill very briefly continually turning so it doesn’t burn – only till meat is just cooked as you want it nice and juicy still. This is the reason the meat pieces are cut into fairly small pieces.

Preparation – Homemade Satay Sauce:

(This sauce makes twice the amount you will need but it doesn’t really work to make less. It is however, freezer friendly)

  1. Using a mini food processor, blitz shallots, garlic, galangal, rehydrated chillies and lemongrass in small batches to achieve a fine paste. (Be patient and don’t be tempted to add water as this will make the paste difficult to caramelise. You can instead use a mortar and pestle but you must add only small amounts of the ingredients at a time, ensuring you have a fine paste before you add more ingredients.) Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy based saucepan or wok till medium heat and pour paste in.
    Stir fry, continuing to make sure bottom isn’t catching till there is very little steam rising from sauce and can definitely see it caramelising and smell it getting fragrant.
  3. Add water and bring to boil.
  4. Add tamarind, lime, sugar, only tsp salt.
  5. Add half the amount of peanuts after adding water to sauce. The other half added just before serving, for crunch.
  6. Bring to boil again, remove from heat and set aside till required. This can be made a couple days ahead of time and keep in a glass jar in the fridge and then re-heat to serve.
  7. Serve with ketupat (compressed rice) and vegetable (skewers) on the side.

** To extract tamarind paste from the pulp, dissolve about ¼ cup pulp with ½ cup hot water. Mash and stir mixture with a fork so water and pulp become homogenized, then push mixture through a strainer and into a small bowl. This will catch all the pulp and seeds. Make sure bottom of sieve is scraped as paste is a little sticky and most of it won’t fall into bowl underneath without help. Discard pulp and seeds and reserve paste till required.

Preparation – Ketupat: (optional as I didn’t prepare it as well)

  1. Place rice into a medium saucepan. Make sure surface of rice is flat as possible.
  2. Add enough water so water above surface of rice is 5cm high. Bring to boil.
  3. Boil for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, cover and turn stove off but leave pot to sit on hotplate for another 10 mins.
  4. Turn rice into a ±33x23cm baking dish lined with foil.
  5. The rice will still be hot so loosely cover rice with food grade plastic wrap and use a tea towel to shield palms from heat while squashing rice down evenly so it is abt 2cm in height. Cool completely to room temperature (takes abt 3 hrs), invert rice onto a chopping board and discard plastic wrap. Cut into 2cm cubes to serve with satay.

Fruit/Vegetable to serve:

  1. Skewer pineapple, onion and cucumber alternatively all the way down. Or serve on individual bowls. (I served with cucumber and red onion only.)
  2. These are eaten fresh with the satay together with rice.

Poh’s intake:

“A good satay meal comprises of a few elements. It has to have those beautifully aromatic, slightly sweet, flavours in the marinade, created by such ingredients as turmeric, galangal and lemongrass. Equally as important is the accompanying peanut sauce which should be full of richness and complexity with a hint of acidity from the tamarind and lime juice. This recipe is just brilliant and really replicates those authentic flavours I remember as a child frequenting satay houses with my family. In Australia, it’s served as an entree but traditionally it’s a meal in itself, served with ketupat (cool, compressed rice) and fresh cucumber, pineapple and Spanish onion pieces, which you also dip into the sauce for a refreshing intermission between the meaty morsels.”

Well worth all preparation which in actual fact didn’t really take all that long or is much work if the satay and peanut sauce are made a day or 2 earlier.

Rate this post if you like:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)