Indonesian Chicken Satay: A Mouthwatering Street Food Delight

When it comes to street food in Indonesia, one dish that has gained immense popularity both locally and internationally is chicken satay. This mouthwatering skewered chicken dish is a quintessential part of Indonesian cuisine and has become a go-to snack for many Indonesians. In this article, we will explore the history and cultural significance of chicken satay and how to make this delicious dish at home.

The History of Chicken Satay

The origins of satay can be traced back to Indonesia, although it has become a popular dish throughout Southeast Asia. Satay is believed to have been introduced to Indonesia by Indian and Arab traders in the 19th century. However, the dish was heavily influenced by Chinese and Malay cuisine, which is reflected in the use of ingredients such as soy sauce and peanuts.

Originally, satay was a luxury food reserved for the aristocracy and was often served at formal events. However, it eventually became a popular street food that could be found in markets and on street corners throughout the country.

The Significance of Satay in Indonesian Culture

Satay has become an integral part of Indonesian culture and is often served at social events such as weddings and family gatherings. In fact, the word “satay” itself has become synonymous with the act of grilling meat on skewers, regardless of the type of meat or the sauce used.

Chicken satay, in particular, is a beloved dish in Indonesia and is often served with rice cakes and peanut sauce. The dish is also commonly found in restaurants and food stalls across the country, making it a staple of Indonesian cuisine.

How to Make Indonesian Chicken Satay

To make chicken satay, you will need:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes


  1. Cut the chicken into thin strips and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vegetable oil, brown sugar, lime juice, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  4. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  5. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, leaving a little space between each piece.
  6. Grill the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and slightly charred.
  7. Serve the chicken satay hot with peanut sauce, rice cakes, and sliced cucumbers.

Indonesian chicken satay is a popular street food that has been enjoyed by Indonesians for generations. It is a dish made with marinated and skewered chicken that is grilled over an open flame and served with a delicious peanut sauce.

The key to making a great Indonesian chicken satay is in the marinade. The marinade typically includes a combination of ingredients such as lemongrass, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and soy sauce. The chicken is then skewered and grilled over an open flame until it is cooked through and slightly charred.

Once the chicken is cooked, it is traditionally served with a peanut sauce that is made with peanuts, kecap manis (a sweet soy sauce), garlic, and other spices. The peanut sauce is typically served on the side so that diners can dip their chicken into it.

While chicken is the most common protein used in Indonesian chicken satay, other meats such as beef, lamb, and even goat can also be used. In addition, some regions of Indonesia use different types of marinades and dipping sauces, giving each area its own unique twist on the dish.

If you’re looking to try Indonesian chicken satay at home, it is relatively easy to make. Here’s a recipe to get you started:


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 10-12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red chili peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon kecap manis
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, soy sauce, vegetable oil, and coconut milk. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  3. Thread the chicken onto the bamboo skewers.
  4. Grill the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and slightly charred.
  5. To make the peanut sauce, combine the peanuts, garlic, chili peppers, kecap manis, water, vegetable oil, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  6. Serve the chicken satay with the peanut sauce on the side for dipping.

Indonesian chicken satay is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a weekend barbecue with friends and family. Give it a try and taste the bold flavors of Indonesia!

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