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Indonesian Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

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Straight from the best Indonesian chicken satay stalls, you are going to love this recipe.

When you hear the words chicken satay, you might be thinking about that famously delicious chicken served at Thai restaurants with Thai peanut sauce. That’s a recipe I simply had to include in my book ‘The Curry Guy Thai’, because it’s so popular.

It’s believed, however that chicken sate originates from Indonesia and this recipe is just like I saw the chicken skewers prepared there. The chicken is cooked on wooden skewers over a hot coconut shell fire, basted heavily with kecap manis which smokes heavily when it drips off and hits the coals giving the chicken an amazing smoky flavour.

This chicken sate is delicious served with the peanut sauce, sambal oelek or another red hot sauce and sliced cucumbers. You might also like to try one of my other Indonesian recipes to go with your chicken sate.

Indonesian chicken satay

About this Indonesian satay recipe

Indonesian chicken satay is sweet and just a bit spicy from the black pepper used in the marinade. It’s all spiced up a bit more with the homemade peanut sauce that goes with these chicken skewers amazingly well. 

I bet you can’t eat just one of these skewers! You are going to get a sweet, sour, savoury and spicy sensation in every bite. that together with the smoky flavour from being cooked right over the coals makes Indonesian chicken satay and barbecue recipe that isn’t to be missed!

How is the chicken satay cooked?

I made this Indonesian chicken satay exactly as I saw it done in Indonesia. The marinated chicken is first dipped in a good amount of sweet soy sauce (kecap manis). Then It’s layed right on top of the coals. As the kecap manis drips into the fire, huge clouds of smoke flavour the chicken as it chars.

You could just cook Indonesian chicken satay on your barbecue grate with good results. I just wanted to try cooking these skewers as I saw them prepared and it was a huge success.

Can you work ahead?

Yes. The chicken is best when marinated for at least 24 hours. You could just marinate and cook if time is an issue but the longer you let Indonesian chicken satay marinate, the better.

You can also prepare the peanut sauce up to 3 days before serving. Just place it in the fridge and bring it out to warm to room temperature. Some people like to heat the peanut sauce but I usually just serve it at room temperature with the flaming hot chicken skewers right off the barbecue. 

How is the peanut sauce prepared?

The peanut sauce is a must! I prefer mine a bit crunchy so I don’t grind it too much. If you prefer a smoother peanut sauce, just blend it for longer. This isn’t as authentic but if that’s what you prefer, then do it.

You can also simplify the peanut sauce by using smooth or chunky peanut butter.


  1. Use premium quality charcoal. I use restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal from Big K.
  2. Allow the chicken to marinate for 24 hours.
  3. Cook directly over the charcoal if you can.

Step by step photos.

Ingredients for chicken satay with peanut sauce.

Get all of your ingredients together before starting. It’s much easier that way.

Preparing the marinade for the chicken.

First prepare the marinade by grinding the black peppercorns and cumin. Then add the soy sauce and kecap manis.

Marinating the chicken meat.

Rub this marinade right into the chicken and allow to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer the better.

Frying the peanuts.

While the chicken is marinating, go ahead and fry the peanuts for about 4 minutes or until they are a couple of tones darker.

Fried peanuts.

The should be crunchy and look like this when ready.

Frying shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies.

Fry the shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies for about 5 minutes to soften.

Preparing the peanut sauce.

Grind the peanuts and the aromatic ingredients either so they are crunchy or smooth. You might need to add a little water. Then stir in the kecap manis.

Prepared peanut sauce

It will look something like this when ready. Set aside.

Skewered Indonesian chicken satay

When ready to cook, set up your barbecue for direct heat grilling and skewer the chicken.

Dipping the chicken skewers in kecap manis

Before placing the chicken skewers on the barbecue, dip them in a lot of kecap manis to coat.

Cooking the chicken satay

Place the chicken skewers over the hot coals and baste from time to time with more kecap manis.

Indonesian chicken satay

Grill until charred and cooked through.

Indonesian Chicken satay


If you like this chicken satay recipe, you might also like to try some of these.

Soto Ayam
Indonesian Fried Chicken
Sambal Oelek – Indonesian hot sauce
Chicken with Sambal Matah
Babi Kecap
Spicy Green Beans Indonesian Style
Indonesian Bakso
Ikan Bakar – Indonesian Fried Fish
Nasi Goreng
Mee Goreng
Sambal La La – Spicy Clams
Indonesian Blackened Fish
Seafood Laksa
Chicken Rendang
Beef Rendang
Butter Egg Floss Prawns
Malaysian Chicken Curry
Malaysian Devil Curry
Ayam Masak Merah – Malaysian Red Chicken Curry
Chicken Kapitan
Homemade Kecap Manis

Have you tried this chicken satay recipe?

If so, please give it a star rating in the comments below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

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Yield: 6

Indonesian Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce

Indonesian chicken sate
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 1kg (2 lbs) chicken thighs, cut into 2cm (1 3/4in) pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis, plus more as required
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 30 (approx.) wooded skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 200g (2 cups) raw peanuts, skin on or off
  • 4 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloved, roughly chopped
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger
  • 2 red spur chillies
  • 2 – 3 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 1 tsp palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) kecap manis
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Salt to taste if needed


  1. Pound the garlic, coriander, cumin and black peppercorns in a pestle and mortar until you have a paste. This can also be done in a spice grinder. Stir in the kecap manis and oil and then pour this marinade all over the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl. Be sure to rub it right into the chicken pieces, cover and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the Indonesian style peanut sauce. Pour about 10cm (4 in) rapeseed oil into a sauce pan or wok over a medium high heat. When visibly hot, add the peanuts and fry until they turn a couple shades darker. About 5 minutes should do.
  3. Transfer the fried peanuts to a bowl to cool. Discard or save all of the oil except for about 2 tbsp. Saute the shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies for about 5 minutes to soften.
  4. Transfer these cooked ingredients to the bowl with the peanuts to cool some. Using a pestle and mortar or food processor, grind to a course, not smooth sauce. You should still see a few small crunchy peanuts in there. Add the kecap manis and soy sauce and stir to combine. Set aside.
  5. When ready to cook, prepare your barbecue for direct heat cooking. You want the coals to be white hot! Your coals are ready when it is uncomfortably hot to hold your hand at cooking height for more than two seconds.
    Skewer your chicken pieces on the wooden skewers. You only want about 4 to 5 pieces of chicken at the end of each skewer.
  6. Dip the marinated chicken in some more kecap manis until they are completely coated. I usually just pour about 250ml (1 cup) of kecap manis on a plate and roll the chicken in it. Place the skewers over the fire and cook for about 8 minutes, turning from time to time until the chicken is cooked through and nicely charred.
    Serve hot with the peanut sauce.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 922mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 8g

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