indonesian chicken satay

Grilled Indonesian Chicken Satay (peanut sauce)

This creamy peanut butter concoction combines the best of salty, sweet, sour and spicy to make the perfect dipping sauce for grilled chicken.

Peanut butter and meat. It’s not the craziest thing in the world. My recipe for Peanut butter jelly wings has been hugely popular, but it’s relatively new compared to the rich tradition of peanut butter used in South East Asian recipes. Malaysians harness it for their version of satay and Cambodians use peanuts in their cooking, too. But my favorite satay style has to be Indonesian. Though, in fairness, the exact type I came to love by eating WAY to much of it on Balinese vacations is probably more westernized than authentic… Culturally diluted or not, it’s quite delicious.

This style of satay is not used for a marinade, but rather served as a rich, silky, salty-sweet dipping sauce on the side. The same sauce recipe also makes an excellent dipping sauce for rice paper rolls, too. You will need two more ‘unusual’ ingredients for this – Kecap Manis, also known as sweet soy sauce. If you can’t find it at your local store, you can order it online here. The sauce also uses Sambal Oelek, also sold as “chili garlic paste”, but you can also buy it here from Amazon. Easy!

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indonesian chicken satay

Grilled Indonesian Chicken Satay (peanut sauce)

  • Author: Jess Pryles
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4



2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened

For the sauce:
¾ cup crunchy peanut butter
½ cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek (chili garlic paste)
Juice of 1 lime


  1. Start by making the sauce. In a small plan, combine peanut butter, coconut milk, sweet soy, sambal and lime juice. Place over low heat until melted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and add more coconut milk if a more loose consistency is desired.
  2. Preheat your grill for two zone cooking, medium low heat. Light a half chimney of charcoal, then once lit,  place to one side of the grill, creating a hot and cool zone.
  3. Cut the chicken thighs into small 1” pieces, then thread onto skewers. Metal skewers are recommended to avoid burning. Season the skewers with salt.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining sweet soy with the softened butter.
  5. Cook the chicken skewers over the direct coals for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook a further 2-3 minutes on the other side. The chicken should have nice color and char, but not be burnt.
  6. Brush the chicken skewers with the butter mixture as they cook.
  7. To finish safely cooking the chicken thoroughly, move the skewers to the indirect side of the grill, and close the lid. Cook until the chicken reads 165f on a meat thermometer (about 10-15 minutes).
  8. Serve with the peanut sauce and jasmine rice for garnish.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Asian