Charcoal Chicken Satay – Southeast Asian Persuasion

Smokey chicken satay on the charcoal grill.

There’s never a time when chicken satay is not cheerfully welcomed into my hungry stomach. What’s not to like about coconut-marinated and spiced chicken thighs slowly grilled over charcoal fire. And if you’ve never tried chicken satay, then you are in for a treat.

Originating from Southeast Asia, this street-food snack is so tasty that you can never make enough of it. Almost every culture has their own version of meat on sticks, the Middle-East has shish kebab or shashlik, Japan has yakitori, China has delicious lamb kebabs named kǎoròu chuàn, Greece has souvlaki, and America has… the corndog? (Not sure if that really counts).

The point is that there’s a lot of competition for recipes with meat on sticks and chicken satays are consistently crowd-pleasing winners. And this recipe for chicken satay is incredibly delicious, healthy and easy to make. You just need a little time to prepare the marinade. If you’re ready, read on…

Charcoal grilled chicken satay with peanut sauce.

Thai, Indonesian, Filipino

As a Canadian, I’m most familiar with the Thai version of chicken satay but there are many variations. Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Sri Lanka all have their own versions of this tasty street food snack.

Chicken satay on the grill being brushed with butter

The Dutch Connection

In the Netherlands, chicken satay, or kipsaté in Dutch, is so popular you can even get it as a sauce for your fries at the local frituur (fry shop). Because Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch during the 16th century some Indonesian dishes have been adopted into Dutch cuisine. Chicken satay is also popular in Suriname, another former Dutch colony.

Finished chicken satay on a plate with fresh basil

Peanut Sauce

You gotta have this sauce with chicken satay. Don’t even think about not making it. It’s super, super tasty.

Go here for my favourite way to make this sauce!

Do I really need to marinate them overnight?

You don’t have to but the flavour will be much more intense if you give the meat time to marinate. I would try to marinate at least 2 hours but if you really can’t wait it’s still going to be great with just 15 minutes of marinating.

What to serve with satay

I think satay is worthy enough to be a standalone dinner dish but it’s normally served as an appetizer. Some ideas to serve on the side:

Finished chicken satay on a plate with fresh basil

Charcoal Grilled Chicken Satay

Juicy pieces of coconut-marinated chicken thigh grilled over charcoal fire and served with an incredible peanut sauce. This recipe is so delicious you will wish you made more.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting time 5 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 55 mins
Course bbq, chicken, Dinner
Cuisine Southeast Asian
Servings 5 skewers
Calories 200 kcal


  • Metal or wooden skewers
  • BBQ
  • Food processor
  • grill brush


  • ½ kilo chicken thigh, boneless and skinless about 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 6 g ginger, peeled 1 piece the same size as two cloves of garlic
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp soy
  • ½ whole red chili
  • 1 bunch thai basil for garnish
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted (optional) for basting the meat
  • sea salt to taste
  • 5 whole skewers, soaked


  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces that will fit onto the skewers.
    Chicken cut into small pieces
  • Add all the ingredients together and blend in the food processor. Pour over the chicken and cover with plastic wrap or put in a plastic zip lock bag. Chill the chicken in the marinade overnight or for at least 2 hours in the fridge. If you are planning to BBQ today, soak the wooden skewers in cold water now.
    Marinating the chicken
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Thread the meat onto the skewers as evenly as possible. Fire up the BBQ.
    Chicken ready to go on wooden skewers.
  • Once the grill is cleaned and hot, season the chicken skewers liberally with sea salt. Grill on the hottest part of the grill.
    Chicken satay on the grill being brushed with butter
  • Keep an eye on the meat as it can burn pretty easily. Everytime you turn the meat over, brush with butter. Test the biggest piece of meat with a knife by cutting slightly to see if the meat is cooked.
    Smokey chicken satay on the charcoal grill.
  • Before serving, baste with a final brush of melted butter and rest the chicken for 5 minutes on the fresh basil. Serve with peanut sauce and enjoy!
    Finished chicken satay on a plate with fresh basil


Soaking the wooden skewers in water prevents them from burning too quickly on the grill.
Keyword asian recipes, bbq chicken satay, charcoal grilled, chicken recipes, chicken satay, coconut chicken, dairy-free burger buns, easy recipes, indonesian food, kip sate, peanut sauce, satay, street food
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