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Overhead view of skewers of chicken satay served with a cucumber salad.

Singapore-Style Chicken Satay

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Nguyet Vo
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes (plus marinating time)
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Asian


Grilled skewers of tender marinated chicken thighs basted with a Singapore inspired sauce.


Units Scale

For the chicken

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 12 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (depending on desired spice level)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts


For the chicken

  1. Prep chicken. In a large bowl, whisk together the water, sugar, garlic, peanut oil, turmeric, cumin and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chicken and turn the chicken pieces until they are coated evenly with the marinade. Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
  2. Prep sauce. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce.

For the sauce

  1. Mix ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the boiling water and peanut butter together until the peanut butter is dissolved into water. Whisk in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Set aside.
  2. Cook sauce. In a small skillet, heat the peanut oil and garlic over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and sizzling, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the chili-garlic sauce and turmeric. Cook an additional 30 seconds.
  3. Finish sauce. Whisk the garlic mixture into the soy mixture until combined. Reserve half of the sauce for grilling. Set the remainder aside to serve with the cooked chicken.

For grilling and serving

  1. Prep grill. When ready to grill the chicken, heat the grill to medium-high. When hot,  leave one part of the grill at medium-high. Turn the heat to low on the other part of the grill.
  2. Prep skewers. Thread chicken pieces onto skewers. Discard the marinade.
  3. Cook chicken. Grill the chicken, uncovered, over medium-high heat until well charred, 3-4 minutes. Flip the skewers and then brush the chicken with some of the reserved sauce. Grill the second side for another 3-4 minutes. Flip again and move the skewers to the cooler side of the grill. Brush the chicken with more sauce, cover, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, another 6-7 minutes.  Transfer the skewers to a serving platter and serve with sauce.


  • The turmeric in the marinade can really stain your hands. I like to wear food-safe gloves when I skewer the chicken so my hands don’t turn yellow.
  • Recipe adapted from Milk Street.
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