This easy Thai chicken satay is loaded with authentic Thai flavors like turmeric, lemongrass, chiles, and fish sauce. A rich and spicy Thai Peanut Sauce is perfect for dipping.
Barbecue Season Is Early This Year: Time for Thai Chicken Satay
After a cold Christmas in Connecticut, we returned to the Bay Area in mid-January to find summer came early this year. Really early. But dire drought conditions aside, I did what any self-respecting Californian would—I pulled out the barbecue. And TBH, I felt giddy as I plucked a handful of ripe cherry tomatoes off the vine and popped one between my teeth. The sweet taste of summer filled my mouth. It was time to bust out my famous Thai chicken satay.
Authentic Thai Flavors
I’ve spent years trying to recreate the flavors I fell in love with on the streets of Bangkok. But with the help of a Thai ex-patriot friend, I’ve finally nailed this easy recipe for the classic Thai street food. The marinade includes signature Thai ingredients like lemongrass, turmeric, galangal (you can substitute fresh ginger), chilies, and fish sauce. Palm sugar assures authentic Southeast Asian flavor, but dark brown cane sugar is a fine substitute. The end result is heaven on a skewer.
So as my East Coast Facebook friends batten the hatches for yet another snow storm, I’ll be doing rain dances out by the barbecue, breathing in the mouth-watering smells of the Bangkok night market, snacking on sweet mid-winter tomatoes fresh off the vine. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a place that actually has winter, you can make this Thai chicken satay indoors on a grill pan and just try to pretend it’s not freezing outside. Though, if you have a chance, you might send a bit of that winter weather our way.Print
This simple Thai chicken satay marinade can be mixed up in minutes in a food processor. Making it by hand takes only a few minutes more. Serve with an authentic Thai Peanut Sauce for dipping and sticky rice if you can get it for a treat that will transport you to the food stalls of Bangkok’s famous Charoen Krung Road.
- 2 shallots, cut into quarters
- 1/4 cup chopped lemongrass
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 to 2 fresh red chilies or ½–1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 inch-long piece galangal or fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh turmeric or ½ teaspoon dried turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into strips (or use chicken breast tenders)
- Combine all of the ingredients except for the chicken in a food processor and process until smooth (alternatively, slice the shallots thinly and mince the lemongrass, garlic, chilies, galangal or ginger, and fresh turmeric and stir together in a bowl, along with the remaining ingredients.)
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken and marinade and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and as long as overnight.
- Soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes and heat a grill or grill pan to high heat.
- Thread the marinated chicken meat onto the skewers (discard the marinade) and grill for about 4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve immediately.