Indonesian chicken satay recipe – Sate Ayam

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Indonesian chicken satay

Indonesian chicken satay – or Sate Ayam in Indonesian – is simply delicious and moreish. It’s one of the most sought-after street foods in Indonesia. You will almost always find a seller or restaurants and other places to eat that sell this grilled chicken on the stick.

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Chicken satay with overlay text

This modest but yummy dish is favoured among Indonesian cuisines that it is now considered as one of the national foods. And it was officially chosen as one by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, together with Gado-gado, Nasi goreng, Soto, and Rendang.

Satay is an influence from the Arab traders who came to the country hundreds of years ago. This food is basically the Indonesian version of middle-Eastern kababs/ kabobs/ kebabs. They are all grilled meat pieces on a skewer.

And there are many types of satay, i.e. chicken satay, goat satay, beef satay, pork satay, etc. However, the most well-liked are the ones made with chicken and goat’s meat. Maybe because the majority population in Indonesia is Muslims. So naturally, these two types of meat are more acceptable as pork is not allowed for Muslims.

The way Indonesians make satay is easy and straightforward. We don’t put too many spices or herbs to marinate the meat before cooking.

As a matter of fact, most of the street food sellers do not marinate the meat at all. However, they do brush the satay with spiced oil during the grilling.

Check my collection of Indonesian National Dishes:

  1. Soto Ayam.
  2. Beef Rendang.
  3. Satay.
  4. Nasi Goreng.
  5. Gado-gado.

The secret of delicious Sate Ayam

And the secret of delicious Indonesian chicken satay lies in the freshness of the meat and the satay sauce

Because as you and I know, chicken can smell. And unfresh poultry meat is even more no-no. So if you want to make your own satay, make sure you get a fresh chicken. 

The most recommended one is boneless chicken thighs. Because they have more fats that make the Satay moist and not dry when it is cooked 

But really, I use boneless chicken breasts more often. Simply because my kids are not keen on the chicken thighs. They don’t like fats. 

chopped onion and spices on a frying pan
frying spices
chicken in marinade

So, to avoid my satay getting dry when cooking, I have to marinate it with a few spices and oil. And of course, I also have to watch the griddle pan very very closely when I cook. Because I have to make sure the chicken meat cooks rightly, that it will be succulent and not dry. 

grilling chicken on the skewers
ready grilled chicken satay

No matter how well the meat pieces are grilled, if they don’t have tasty peanut sauce over them, that Sate Ayam won’t be as good. 

And when you have your chicken satay ready, you can simply enjoy it with plain white rice. Often on the side, it is served with a simple pickled cucumber, carrot, chilli and shallot.

Yield: 4

Chicken Satay

skewers of Indonesian chicken satay

Indonesian Sate Ayam is the original of all the chicken satay. It's simple, easy and straightforward to make. Yet, it's so delicious and flavourful. Find out why we're the best 😉

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 400 gr/ 14.11 oz boneless chicken, cut in small pieces.
  • 1 small onion.
  • 4 garlic cloves.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper.
  • ½ tsp salt.
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves.
  • 2 tbsp oil.
  • For the satay peanut sauce:
  • 100 gr/ 3.53 oz roasted peanuts (see the note).
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped.
  • 5 garlic cloves.
  • ½ tsp salt.
  • 1 tsp sugar.
  • 3 red bird's eye chillies.
  • 1 cup of water.
  • ¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 2.11 fl.oz. Indonesian sweet soy sauce.


  1. If you use bamboo skewers, don’t forget to soak them for a few hours before you use them. It’s to prevent them from getting burned on the grill/ griddle pan.
  2. Pound the onion and garlic into a paste. You can use a pestle and mortar, or a food processor. 
  3. Then heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and garlic paste, the ground coriander, black pepper, salt and lime leaves. Cook until the herbs and spices release an aroma. Set aside.
  4. Put the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl and add in the cooked spices. Mix and stir well until all meat pieces are coated with the spices. Set aside to marinate for at least an hour or two.
  5. When you are ready to make your Satay, pierce the chicken pieces on the skewers and start grilling them. You can use your oven grill, a griddle pan, or even a barbecue. I find cooking the satay on a griddle pan is effortless and quicker. But I leave the choice to your preference.
  6. For the peanut sauce:
  7. Put the peanuts, onion, garlic, salt, sugar, chilli, and water in a blender. Give it a blitz until you get a creamy but a bit grainy peanut mixture.
  8. Pour the mixture in a small cooking pan/pot and heat it up. When the peanut sauce is boiling, let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes before you turn the heat off. Set aside.
  9. Assemble Indonesian chicken satay:
  10. Arrange the skewers on a plate and pour the peanut sauce over the satay. Then drizzle it with sweet soy sauce.


  • Traditionally, Indonesians would fry the peanuts themselves. I’m a bit lazy, so I use roasted salted peanuts. But of course, you can always follow the original route that is frying the nuts yourself. 
  • You can use chilli powder if you want. For the similar level of heat as this recipe, you would want to put 1 tsp chilli powder. If you love hotter sauce, you can always add more chillies.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

Amount Per Serving Calories 566Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 102mgSodium 1296mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 4gSugar 14gProtein 42g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

Did you try the recipe?

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Related posts

Thank you for checking this recipe. I hope you are now thinking of making the chicken satay. When you do, it will be awesome if you could share what you think about it in the comments below. You can also tag me on Instagram or Pinterest @soyummyrecipesbydevy if you want to share the picture of your creation.

Before you go, don’t forget to check my other recipes for some inspiration for your dinner tonight 😄.

Thank you and all the best.

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Join the Conversation

  1. This looks delicious! I will definitely be making these for dinner soon. I think my boyfriend will absolutely love them. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’re most welcome. I hope you’ll like it

  2. This looks delicious! I don’t think I can get Indonesian soy sauce where I am located. Is there a substitute or a recipe to make it yourself?

    1. Hi Kate, thank you. Yes, there are ways to make your own sweet soy sauce. You can take a look at my Chicken Sweet Soy Sauce post. I’ve explained in there. Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

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