Quick and Easy Chicken Thigh Satay with Peanut Sauce

There’s something particularly awesome about food that comes on a stick.  First of all, it has the potential to turn just about anything into finger food.  Secondly, it almost always means you’re looking at something that’s been grilled or fried – and you know it’s going to bring the flavor.   This Chicken Thigh Satay does both – I mean grill and flavor. There’s nothing that says you can’t fry them, but you probably shouldn’t.

Satay is an Indonesian and Malaysian preparation that’s sort of burst the boundaries of those two cuisines and eked its way into kitchens all over the world – from Thailand to The Netherlands and is even found on small plates at places that like to tell you “Have you dined with us before?  Here’s how it works … we recommend 4-5 small…” and then you tune out.


Part of that popularity is, of course, the universal love for food that comes on a stick.  Another part is that it’s a genuinely delicious preparation.  Finally, and in my mind most importantly, because it often comes with one of the truly (in my opinion) great condiments the world has to offer.

Peanut Sauce.

I often order spring rolls at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants just for the peanut sauce. When my younger brother lived in the Netherlands, I became mildly addicted to perfectly crunchy, golden, perfectly fried Dutch fries dipped in peanut sauce (and sometimes Dutch mayo as well … if you’re gonna bathe in delicious fatty toppings, you may as well do it right.)   Shorter version, I love this stuff, and it even better when it’s paired with perfectly grilled savory bits of chicken marinated in lively spices, turmeric, and citrus.


The salty fish sauce adds funk and depth.  If you’re not familiar with this condiment, don’t be put off. It can smell assertive, but the flavor is wonderful, and it adds tremendous flavor to almost anything.  I use a whisper of Chinese Five Spice powder, a blend that does vary somewhat, but often contains Szechuan peppercorn, cinnamon, anise, and cloves.  That mixture layers well with the fish sauce and other ingredients to make a savory marinade. The turmeric adds a warming layer of flavor and helps give the meat that brilliant golden color.  If you’re looking for heat – I mean spice, not temperature, you can optionally add a little Sriracha. Citrus – in this case lime – adds a little sour zing, but also further tenderizes the meat, which is useful because the thin strips of chicken thigh cook almost insanely fast.  Just a couple minutes on the grill (or in the broiler) and you’ll have a tasty snack, meaty side dish, or fun and fast appetizer ready to go.

While you’ll often see this dish prepared with chicken breast – you’ll even see them brag about it on the menu – I think chicken thigh produce a far superior product.  That should be obvious, given that you’re reading this on a website called The Chicken Thigh Guy, but it really is the truth here.  Thighs are slightly fattier and contain a lot more collagen – that means they react much better to both the high heat used to cook this dish, and the marinade. They stay tender and juicy without getting that powdery or even stringy texture you sometimes get from chicken breast meat.  They also brown up beautifully where the breast meat might just burn.

I often garnish this dish (as you can see above and below) with sliced cucumbers, some pickled chilies, cilantro, some crushed peanuts, and a few lime wedges, but you can tweak it as you like.

Quick and Easy Chicken Thigh Satay with Peanut Sauce

Recipe by DrewCourse: Appetizers, Boneless, Dinner, Grilled, Southeast Asian


Prep time


Cooking time





A quick, easy, and delicious recipe for Southeast Asian style Chicken Thigh Satay with Peanut Sauce.


  • Chicken Thigh Satay
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 tbsp sriracha (opt)

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 1 tsp microplaned ginger

  • 2 tsp microplaned garlic

  • 2 tsp fish sauce

  • 1 tsp dried turmeric

  • 1 tsp granulated sugar

  • ½ tsp Chinese five spice powder

  • Peanut Sauce
  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter (or chunky if you prefer)

  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce

  • 1 tbsp Sriracha Sauce

  • 1 tsp minced garlic

  • 1 tsp granulated sugar


  • Chicken Thigh Satay
  • Combine the lime juice, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, five spice, turmeric and sugar in a non reactive bowl.
  • Set aside.
  • Using two sheets of plastic wrap, and a heavy pan or smooth sided mallet, pound the chicken thigh into ¼ inch thin pieces.
  • Cut the pounded pieces in half lengthwise, or into 3rds if particularlu large.
  • Add the marinade and chicken to a zip top bag, or non reactive container large enough to hold both and keep the chicken immersed.
  • Allow to marinate for at least2 hours, and up to 4.
  • If using bamboo skewers, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes before threading.
  • Remove from the marinade, and thread the pieces onto skewers, working to keep them as flat as possible.
  • Grill over high heat, or using a broiler.
  • Serve with peanut sauce.
  • Peanut Sauce
  • Combine all ingredients, adding small amounts of hot water as necessary to thin.


  • You can use chunky peanut butter in the peanut sauce if you so prefer – I just happen to like my sauce to have a smooth texture.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!

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