Sate Ayam Recipe: Indonesian Chicken Satay, a Street Food Staple

Sate Ayam, the Indonesian chicken satay, is just like a regular chicken kebab, but like half the size and triple the deliciousness.


My mother is from Indonesia, and one of my all-time favorite foods that she used to make for us was sate (the Indonesian and Malaysian spelling for satay, pronounced the same way), whether it was beef (sapi), chicken (ayam), or something else.

Chicken sate ayam with peanut sauce
Chicken satay, or sate ayam, with peanut sauce. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Crisco 1492. [CC BY-SA 2.0].

The flavorful, tender meats would have me craving more and more after each bite, and I just couldn’t get enough. For this reason, I am glad that she doesn’t live near me now, because my metabolism ain’t what it used to be!

Sate is an Indonesian (and Malaysian) dish of marinated meat that has been skewered and grilled, usually served with a sauce, though the meat, if it is done right, is exquisite enough to excuse any extra condiments. It is similar to the Middle Eastern kebabs and Japanese yakitori, and though Malaysians and the Thai tend to claim sate is their creation, its southeast Asian origin is in the Indonesian island of Java.

Sate ayam is often served with a peanut sauce (bumbu kacang or sambal kacang), which is as popular as the dish itself. It is usually served as an appetizer or part of a larger meal, but in Indonesia it is common to see street vendors selling them as snacks.

Chicken sate ayam with peanut sauce

Sate Ayam

Sate ayam, the Indonesian chicken satay, is just like a regular chicken kebab, but like half the size and triple the deliciousness.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Indonesian, Southeast Asian
Servings 50 skewers
Calories 250 kcal



  • 50 pcs bamboo skewers
  • 1 kg chicken, cubed preferably dark leg/thigh meat


  • 1/2 cup kecap manis Indonesian sweet soy sauce, an Indonesian thick soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar.
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 pcs shallots, sliced make very thin slices
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce now the regular kind
  • 2 pcs red chilies, diced bird's eye chili / Thai chili, if possible
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper, ground
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 2 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 1/4 cup kecap manis
  • 1 pc lime juice (one lime's worth of juice)
  • 1 tsp terasi A shrimp paste, or any fish sauce/paste.
  • 1 pc shallot, sliced


  • Cube the chicken into slightly smaller than 1" cubes (about 2 cm). Soak the bamboo skewers for about ½ hour in water prior to impaling the chicken cubes and putting on the grill, this way they won't burn!
  • Prepare both the basting mix and the marinades by mixing their ingredients in two different bowls.
  • Throw the cubed chicken into the bowl and let marinate, preferably overnight, but at least several hours. Take the marinated meat and stick 'em on the skewers, about 4 or 5 per stick.
  • Prepare the grill, charcoal if possible, but a large griddle/pan on the burner will work. When heat is even, place skewered meat on the grilling surface.
  • Baste the meat initially; turn over 2 or 3 times, basting the top after each flip.Meat should be done after 6-8 minutes of grilling.
  • Serve immediately, with Indonesian peanut sauce (sambal kacang or bumbu kacang), preferably. Selamat makan!
Keyword Street Food