Chicken satay kebabs

Photographer: Adam
makes approx 12 kebabs

Summer is an all year round season in Samoa and so every Saturday night is BBQ night at my parents’ house. On evenings that are hot and humid and no one’s in the mood for eating 2 inch thick T-bone steaks with the works, my dad conjures up his chicken satay kebabs as a lighter option with coleslaw and rice.

Unfortunately the kebabs are never spicy enough because my mum and few sisters can not tolerate anything above mild. So I have taken this opportunity to make my own version of a spicy chicken satay kebab with Thai flavours added in for an extra spicy kick and taste.

The spicy chicken marinade provides a background of sweet and salty flavours that marry well with the nutty, creamy and spicy flavours of the satay. You are welcome to increase or decrease the amount of fresh chillies you a to your marinade and sauce depending on your tolerance to spicy flavours.



1 kg skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
1 packet wooden skewers

¼ cup lemongrass
2 shallots – sliced
4 cloves garlic
3 – 5 fresh red chillies, sliced (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
1 tbsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tbsp fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried turmeric
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil

2 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp water
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp brown sugar, to taste
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp fish sauce
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp Thai chilli sauce
1/4 cup coconut cream


1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while you prepare the meat (to prevent burning).
2. Cut chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl.
3. Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Process well.
4. Taste-test the marinade – you will taste sweet, spicy, and salty. The strongest tastes should be SWEET and SALTY in order for the finished satay to taste its best. Add more sugar or more fish sauce (in place of salt) to adjust the taste. You can also add more cayenne pepper or fresh chilli if you want it spicier.
5. Pour the marinade over the meat and stir well to combine. Allow at least 1 hour for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).
6. When ready to cook, thread meat onto the skewers.
7. Grill the satay on your BBQ, OR you can grill in the oven on a grill pan or baking sheet with the oven set to “grill or high”. Turn the meat every 5 minutes until cooked. Depending on how thin your meat is, the satay should cook in 10 to 15 minutes.

1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth.
Do a taste test, adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you’d prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
2. Pour in a saucepan and gently heat it. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more coconut cream.
3. Serve warm by pouring over the chicken kebabs.

Fill up to 3/4 of the skewer, leaving the lower part empty so that the person grilling has a “handle” to easily turn the satay during cooking.