A traditional Thai Chicken Satay is a luxurious, rich and delicious dish that is worth the effort to make for yourself, using a homemade Thai Massaman Curry Paste.
This recipe ruined me for all other satay. Which is kind of a shame really because it is certainly more labor intensive than other satay. But it is oh so worth it.
Because of the labor involved, I recommend doubling the paste recipe and freezing the remainder, so that the next time you want satay it is an easier affair.
A sweet and sour cucumber salad is traditional with this, but I served this chicken with som tom, a Thai green papaya salad that will be on this site in a few days. If my low-carbing sister had not been dining with us, I would have also served jasmine rice on the side.
- 3 oz dried New Mexico chile peppers stemmed and seeded and soaked in hot water
- seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
- 1 1/2 t whole cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 T whole coriander seeds
- 2 t shrimp paste wrapped in a double layer of foil
- 1/4 t whole black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 1/4 t ground cinnamon
- 1 thick stalk of lemon grass outer leaves peeled away, trimmed to 5 inches and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 T finely chopped galangal peel first
- 1/4 cup chopped garlic
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots
Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. First toast the coriander seeds for about 30 seconds and then add the cumin seeds. Toast until darkened and fragrant, a matter of seconds. Dump into a small bowl to cool off.
Toast the foil wrapped shrimp paste in the same skillet, a few minutes per side. It also will become fragrant.
Use a spice grinder and grind the cooled whole spices until fairly fine. In the meantime, dump the galangal and lemongrass into the wet dry grinder and grind for about 30 seconds. Then add everything else, including the shrimp paste and ground spices, and grind to make a puree. You will probably need to add some of the chile pepper soaking water.
Only grind until it is a fine, smooth and silky puree but not hot, otherwise you will start to cook the paste.
See here for how to make a curry paste without a wet dry grinder.
Adapted from True Thai, Victor Sodsook
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 4 T Massaman curry paste
- 2 T dark brown sugar
- 2 T fish sauce
- 2 t ground coriander
- 1 kaffir lime leaf, torn into smaller pieces
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into long, skinny pieces
- 1 14- oz can coconut milk (this is one time where I am ok with low fat–I used full fat but would try low fat next time as the peanut butter makes the sauce plenty rich)
- 6 T Massaman curry paste
- 2/3 cup natural peanut butter (regular is ok too, I just prefer natural here)
- 7 T dark brown sugar (or to taste)
- 2 T fish sauce (or to taste)
Whisk together all of the ingredients except the chicken. Pour the marinade into a plastic or silicone bag with the chicken and marinate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
Whisk the ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat. When totally combined, taste for additional fish sauce or sugar. Best served warm but room temperature is ok too.
Traditionally the chicken is then skewered (because this would be street food in Thailand), but I find it easier to just grill the chicken pieces and serve with the sauce on the side. A Thai cucumber salad (see note below for link) is also traditional.
You can find a traditional but Spiralized Thai cucumber salad here.
Kudos Kitchen says
Great looking recipe. I've never made satay before but might need to try this one. I'm a huge fan of anything peanut butter so satay is right up my alley. Thanks for posting this!
I like satay a lot but have never tried it with Thai chicken. Such a great idea!
This looks so incredibly tasty and worth the extra effort.
Moan. I have a serious weakness for all things satay. The PB sauce sounds amazing!
Elizabeth White says
I've been obsessing over this recipe ever since you posted it. May have to break out of my pregnant lazy non-cooking rut and make it! I guess you can't buy Massaman curry paste pre-made, huh?
Mmmm I LOVE massaman. In fact, for dinner this weekend we had both massaman chicken and satay! (Although I bought it, of course) Even my kids can agree on this one…
Belinda @zomppa says
Oh, dare I try it too and never go back?
Katie Emily Evans says
Not quite the same as paying 50 baht for a bag full of them and eating them with an ice cold Chang in the wonderful evening heat, but they really are delicious and the fragrances that hit you are sure to bring back Thai memories! Highly recommend them on a charcoal barbecue too, just make sure the coals aren’t too hot.