Grilled Asian Chicken Satay

Raw chicken satay on a small grill with red charcoal underneath.

Cooked over direct heat, these grilled Asian chicken satays are fun and flavorsome meals or finger food. You can serve the cooked satay plain, or offer sliced cucumbers and satay sauce. Peanut sauce is a traditional accompaniment, but a sweet chili pepper sauce is also nice.

The marinade is made from scratch to create a very fresh flavor. A variety of dried spices are toasted and ground, then mixed with fresh spices to create an aromatic paste. If you don’t have chicken, the satays can be used on any other poultry including turkey, duck, or pheasant.

The trick is keeping the meat moist is regular turning and basting with coconut milk. You can also use dark meat instead of white meat, for added moisture. Any heat works for cooking the satay, including gas. However, using lump charcoal or briquettes adds a nice smokey flavor.

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Looking across a rectangular plate with a pile of chicken satay and a side of cucumber chunks.
Once cooked the satay can be served as part of a bigger meal or as a finger food.
Raw chicken satay are lined up on a foil-lined tray ready to be cooked.
After the four-hour marinade, the chicken can be skewered onto the soaked bamboo sticks.
Looking down on a small grill with the satay skewers on it with the chicken over the heat and the exposed skewers hanging out of the grill so they don't burn.
Try and keep the bamboo satay skewers away from the direct heat so that they do not burn.
Looking down onto a grill with briquettes while chicken satay skewers cook.
Soaking the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before grilling will help them from burning while cooking.
Looking down onto a foil-lined baking tray filled with uncooked chicken satay skewers.
The key to making flavorful chicken satay is the aromatic marinade made with toasted dried and fresh spices.
Raw chicken satay on a small grill with red charcoal underneath.
The chicken satay are cooked over direct coals so they will need to be continually turned and basted to make sure they don’t burn.

Grilled Asian Chicken Satay Recipe

Raw chicken satay on a small grill with red charcoal underneath.
Cooked over direct heat, these Grilled Asian Chicken Satays are a fun and flavorsome meal or finger food.
Preparation 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Ready in 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4 Servings



  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk lemongrass bottom tender part only
  • 1/2 inch galangal chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons palm sugar or white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 pounds cubed boneless chicken
  • coconut milk
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • satay sauce for serving


  • spice grinder or mortar and pestle
  • 24 bamboo skewers soaked for 30 minutes



  • In a small frying pan toast the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds over medium heat until fragrant, occasionally shaking the pan. Grind into a fine powder; set aside.
  • Process the onion, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, salt, and palm sugar until a smooth paste. 
  • In a large bowl add the ground spices, onion paste, vinegar, and turmeric; stir until well combined.
  • Add the chicken to the marinade in the bowl and stir to coat. Chill to marinate for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Chicken Satay

  • Preheat a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  • Thread the chicken onto the bamboo skewers leaving a good portion to hold while eating.
  • Place the satay skewers over the grill with the meat over the direct heat and the handles in a cooler area or even outside the grill.
  • Cook while brushing with coconut milk, turning continually, to keep the meat moist.
  • Serve hot with sliced cucumbers, satay sauce, or your favorite accompaniment. 

Nutritional Information

Calories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 49gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 1144mgPotassium: 1042mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 129IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg

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About Saffron Hodgson

Outdoor cooking has been Saffron’s passion since she was young, often choosing to go camping and cook hearty meals over fire rather than stay inside, watch TV, and eat take-out. Today she is the driving force of Bush Cooking bringing the skills of cooking outdoors to thousands of people.

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