My Mom is Indonesian and one of the benefits of growing up with an Indonesian cook is you get to eat Indonesian chicken satay. And you get to eat a lot of it, like all the time. I have been to too many Indonesian, Malaysian, or Thai restaurants that give you 5 skewers of satay for like $10. My kids can eat 5 chicken satays by themselves. I get it, the recipe is super hard and manual, but $10 for 5 chicken skewers is a rip off. Plus for some reason it is always tough, doesn’t have enough sauce, and burned. If there is one recipe you have to learn from the Indonesian culture that is great for kids, it is this one.
This recipe is a great way to cook Indonesian chicken satay with very little hassle. Making your own peanut sauce is definitely the most authentic way to cook satay, but unless you got a ton of Indonesian ingredients and a half a day I would probably wait until you do have the time. Thankfully when you have Indonesian relatives that live in Indonesia you get the insider knowledge on what is the best peanut sauce for Indonesian chicken satay. And boy did they come up big for me. The peanut sauce that is a best-seller and most popular for chicken satay is Bumbu sate by Enak Eco. I have utilized this package too many times to count, and is by far my favorite peanut sauce, even when compared to restaurants.
In a way, sometimes it is just knowing what package to buy, and with Bumbu sate by Enak Eco that is most true. Combined with the grilling secrets from my Dad, and my favorite Kecap Manis brand Bango, you are good to go for our outdoor party.
Tips for cooking Indonesian chicken satay
- Chicken Thigh – Always, always, use chicken thighs. In fact this tip is for all Asian food that you cook for kids.
- Grilling – The sticks will burn off if you don’t protect them during the grilling. Use foil under the skewers to prevent the sticks from burning.
- Package is ok – Don’t sweat making this all from scratch. I use the Bumbu sate by Enak Eco package all the time, and it tastes awesome with Kecap Manis.
- Kecap Manis – Buy this sauce now. It is a sweet black ketchup that tastes almost like a mix of soy sauce and oyster sauce mixed with sugar. My favorite brand for Kecap Manis is Bango. It is usually able to be bought at your nearest Asian grocery store typically.
- Make a lot – When people see that you have chicken satay (they know this as skewers), they will want to eat a ton.
Traditionally you would have satay with Acar Timun, an Indonesian cucumber pickle vegetables with shallots and carrots. I also would serve with rice, and fresh sliced cucumbers are great with the peanut sauce too.
So many times your friends have had to restrict themselves at restaurants to share with the table and eat only 1 skewer. Give them the gift of an almost all-you-can-eat Indonesian chicken satay buffet. Trust me, worth it 100x.
Indonesian Chicken Satay with Peanut sauce
- 30 10 inch wooden skewers
- 3 lb Boneless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup Kecap Manis
- 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
- 1/2 tbsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1/8 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 package Bumbu Sate
- 1 1/2 cup Water
- Get Ingredients
Marinating the Chicken
- Soak wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes in water. This prevents them from burning while grilling.
- Pound the chicken to tenderize and cut into small bite size pieces.
- Rub vegetable oil on skewers, then thread chicken pieces onto wooden skewer, about 5 pieces per skewer.
- Combine kecap manis, vegetable oil, salt and a pinch of ground coriander and cumin in a small bowl and pour over satay. Once fully coated, let satay sit in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
Making the Peanut sauce
- Break up the Bumbu sate package mix. Then put in 1 1/2 cups of water in a pot over medium high heat and bring up to heat. When hot add your Bumbu sate mix, and put on medium heat for 15 minutes. Mix the bumbu sate until there are not more solid pieces of mix.
- Your peanut sauce will be a bit liquidy at this point, so you want to actually transfer it to a pyrex or bowl and let it sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature. This will enable the peanut sauce to thicken up to the consistency you want. The most similar consistency is thickened Japanese curry.
- I add 1 tsp of Kecap Manis to the peanut sauce, and add more if I want the sauce to be sweeter. I would add 1 tsp at a time, try, and then stop when you happy with the taste.
Grilling the Chicken satay
- After your chicken has marinated make sure to separate the peanut sauce into two bowls so that you are able to keep the half of the peanut sauce clean. You are going to use half for brushing during grilling, and the other half to be served as dipping sauce with the finished satay.
- Prep the grill by placing foil on top of the grate directly underneath the wooden portion of the stick (the foil will prevent the sticks from burning).
- When satay is almost finished, brush with the peanut sauce and kecap manis. Grill satay until nicely charred on each side, and cooked. Then quickly remove satay to a plate.
- A trick to make your chicken satay more flavorful is to add Kecap Manis as a drizzle to the top of the chicken satay. This adds some sweetness that takes it over the top.
- Peanut Dipping sauce can be served on the side or drizzle over finished satay. Serve with white rice and pickled vegetables. Garnish with fried shallots and a squeeze of lime.