Why not try these satay chicken skewers for your next barbeque? They are made with tender strips of chicken breasts, marinated in a delicious satay sauce, and because there are no bones to worry about, they cook in minutes over the coals. The chicken is marinated so it stays super juicy, which means you can enjoy any leftovers for lunch next day.
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The secret to perfectly barbequed chicken
Actually, there are 2 secrets to getting perfectly barbequed chicken. One of them I've already shared with you is this recipe for barbeque chicken South African style.
The other secret is to always marinate your chicken before cooking it. The marinade helps tenderise the meat as it breaks down the protein, and infuses the flesh with amazing flavours. And of course, once you've marinated the chicken you don't want to waste the delicious marinade. Invest in a silicone basting brush, and baste, baste, baste while you are grilling. Basting the chicken serves 2 purposes - it adds additional flavour, but more importantly, it stops the meat from drying out on the hot coals.
Marinated satay chicken skewers
The recipe that I am sharing today shows you how to get perfectly cooked satay chicken skewers on the barbeque. The satay marinade is an easy recipe made with pantry staples such as peanut butter, coconut milk and soy sauce and elevates a simple chicken skewer from the mundane to the extraordinary.
The spiciness in the sauce comes from store-bought Thai red curry paste so you don't have to worry about getting the balance of different spices right. Just open a jar and spoon it in!! Of course, you don't have to use a jar - you could make your own curry paste if you have lots of time and can find all the ingredients. If you want to make it yourself, here is an authentic Thai red curry paste recipe that you can try.
These satay chicken skewers are quick and easy to make - but you will need to remember to make the marinade earlier in the day. The chicken will need at least an hour to marinade, but once you get the skewers on the coals they cook in only 10 minutes.
I like to use a barbeque grilling basket to hold the skewers. It prevents them from sticking to the grill, and also makes turning easier, and ensures you don't lose any smaller pieces of meat onto the coals below. I have a small grilling basket, but I've included a link to a larger one on Amazon in case you need to buy one. These baskets are ideal for grilling fish, meat skewers or kebabs and sausages. I also like to make sandwiches filled with cheese, tomato and onion and grill those on the barbeque in one of these baskets too.
Get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making these chicken satay skewers on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Prep time - 10 minutes
- Marinating time - 1 hour
- Cooking time - 10 minutes
- Yield - makes 8 skewers
- Calories - 213 per skewer
- Main equipment - Barbeque grill and barbeque grilling basket. In case you need a barbeque I've included a link to one similar to the one I use. I would also recommend using a barbeque grilling basket which will make it much easier to cook the skewers on the grill.
You don't need many ingredients. Just chicken and 7 other ingredients for the sauce.
Skinless chicken breast fillets - these should be sliced into 1cm thick slices so that they can be threaded onto wooden skewers.
Coconut milk - I buy this in cans at my local supermarket. You will need a 165g can (about 6oz). If you can't get these small cans then you can buy a large can, use half and freeze the rest.
Thai red curry paste - I normally use a jar from the supermarket.
Smooth peanut butter - if you only have the crunchy type that will be fine too.
Fish sauce - you can buy this in the Asian aisle at most large supermarkets - if you can't find it you can substitute it with rice vinegar.
Brown sugar - for a hint of sweetness
Soy sauce - I normally use dark soy sauce.
Salt - optional, but I think the taste of the chicken benefits from a little salt.
Start making these skewers at least an hour before you want to put them on the barbeque to give the marinade time to do its work.
Place all the marinade ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until the sugar has dissolved.
Cut the chicken breasts into strips along the length of the breast, then submerge the strips into the satay marinade, cover the bowl and place it into the refrigerator for at least an hour.
In the meantime, take your wooden skewers and soak them in cold water to ensure they do not burn when placed on the hot barbeque.
Thread the marinated chicken onto the wooden skewers in a concertina style. If the strips are long enough you may only need one strip per skewer, otherwise use two or even three strips of chicken.
Place the satay chicken skewers in a single layer into a barbeque grilling basket and place over the coals. Barbeque for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on how thickly you sliced the chicken). Turn the grilling basket often so that the chicken does not burn, and brush liberally with the remaining marinade a few times during the cooking process.
If you prefer you could place the skewers directly onto the barbeque grill and turn them frequently with a pair of tongs.
To serve, garnish with chopped coriander and serve with salads and crusty bread rolls.
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Frequently asked questions
Satay sauce is used extensively in Asian cuisine and is often referred to as peanut sauce. I have used peanut butter in this version, for convenience, but crushed peanuts are often used instead.
You can freeze these chicken skewers in the marinade for up to three months. Pack them into a suitable container (a Ziploc bag large enough to hold the wooden skewers would be ideal) before freezing.
To use, allow them to defrost in the refrigerator while still in the freezer packaging. Once defrosted, barbeque as per the recipe instructions.
You can make the skewers 2 days in advance and store them in a large covered dish in the refrigerator. If you don't want to assemble the skewers in advance, just store the chicken strips in the marinade in the refrigerator. I wouldn't store them for longer than 2 days.
Yes, you can definitely cook these satay chicken in the oven.
Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil in a baking tray to prevent sticking, and arrange the skewers in a single layer.
Place in a preheated oven (200C/400F) and bake for approximately 15 minutes using a pair of tongs to turn the skewers once or twice during the cooking process. Baste with the marinade when you turn the chicken.
If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the cooked chicken should be 75C/165F.
If you don't have a thermometer, cut a piece of chicken in half - it should be completely white with no pink showing.
Depending on where you live in the world you may know these skewers as kebabs.
In South Africa, they are called sosaties (soh-sar-tees). The term sosatie is of Cape Malay origin meaning grilled meat in a spicy sauce.
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Other recipes you may like
If you like a barbeque, I've got some super ideas for meat and salads that you may enjoy.
- Copper penny salad (sweet and sour carrots)
- Creamy coleslaw with a tangy buttermilk dressing
- Salmon and red pepper pasta salad with corn
- Spicy mushroom fried rice
- Garlic stuffed mushrooms with ham and cheese
- Chicken and bacon skewers
- Homemade boerewors patties
- Cornbread casserole bake
Satay chicken skewers
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 8 ounce (450g) skinless chicken breast fillets
- ⅔ cup (165ml) coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a mixing bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and everything is well combined.
- Cut the chicken breasts along the length into 1cm slices and submerge in the marinade.
- Place the chicken and marinade into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- While the chicken is marinating, soak the wooden skewers in cold water.
- Thread the marinated chicken concertina style onto the skewers. If the chicken strips are quite short, you may need two or even three strips.
Barbeque the chicken
- Grill the chicken over hot coals for 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently and basting often with the leftover marinade.
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve immediately with a selection of salads and crusty bread.
If you don't have a thermometer, cut a piece of chicken in half - it should be completely white with no pink showing. Nutrition has been calculated per skewer (based on 8 skewers being made) and includes all the marinade. In reality not all the marinade will be consumed.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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