These skewers are explosively flavorful and are exactly what fun summer eating is all about. I love simple food that’s big on flavor; it’s the kind of healthy chicken that you crave.
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Satay – An easy Thai street food.
This chicken satay is loaded with flavor thanks to a Thai inspired marinade of fragrant lemongrass, fresh garlic, and savory elements like soy sauce and sesame oil (think umami). After 30 minutes, you can grill the chicken or refrigerate overnight for even more flavor. This is the perfect appetizer for your summer BBQ party because it’s always fun eating off of a stick.
The 5-ingredient peanut sauce for this satay is really easy to make and it’s incredibly addicting!
Since the chicken is the star ingredient of this grill sesh, use organic breasts or thigh meat for the best possible taste!
Why this recipe works:
- Allowing the chicken to marinate in aromatics, helps the essence of those flavors get deep into the meat before it ever hits the grill.
- The use of coconut sugar in the marinade caramelizes during cooking, adding a nice, flavorful char.
- The use of fresh cilantro pairs perfectly with the lemongrass and peanut sauce.
- The simplicity of real food and simple quality ingredients is satisfying and healthy.
- Sesame oil and vegetable oil added to the marinade prevents the chicken from sticking to the grill grates.
How to Make Chicken Satay
Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise into strips, then turn and cut into 2-inch thick cubes.
Combine the chicken with the lemongrass marinade. Massage the chicken and rest for 30 minutes or refrigerate in a plastic bag overnight.
Soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes in water or use lemongrass to spear the chicken. Preheat the grill or barbecue for high heat cooking.
Once the skewers touch the grates, resist the urge to move them too much. Rotate when you see char marks.
Serve with chopped cilantro and peanut sauce.
Pro Tips for the Best Possible Chicken Satay
- Apply the marinade for at least 30 minutes, so the aromatics have time to work into the meat. You can also refrigerate overnight.
- Pound the lemongrass with the back of your knife to release aromatics. Coat with extra marinade and apply to the chicken using the lemongrass like a paintbrush (while it’s cooking).
- Adding peanut sauce improves the mouthfeel of eating the dense protein.
- High heat helps the chicken get caramelized and concentrates the flavors so crank up the heat and avoid moving the chicken around.
- If at all possible, barbecue the chicken (where you use coals or wood) because the smoke really enhances everything.
Helpful Grilling Tools
- I use this grill brush to clean the grates of the hot grill.
- You’ll always find me holding a spring loaded pair of tongs while grilling.
- If you want to give barbecue a whirl (you should) – these briquettes will help and so will this chimney starter.
More Chicken Recipes
- Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Yogurt Sauce
- Chicken Fusilli with Creamy Paprika Sauce
- Thai Vegetable Curry
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
* Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Satay
- 1 recipe 5 Ingredient Peanut Sauce
- 3 chicken breasts about 1.5 pounds chicken (breasts or thigh meat)
- 1 tsp mirin
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 stock lemongrass bottom 1/3 (tender inner layer), minced
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- fresh ground black pepper about 1/2 tsp
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire or fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 oz fresh cilantro chopped
- Soak 4 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes or soak 4 stocks thin lemongrass to use those as the skewers.
- Cut the chicken breast lengthwise into strips 2" thick. Turn the chicken and cut strips into cubes 2" thick. Place chicken in a medium bowl or plastic bag.
- Add marinade ingredients (mirin, garlic, lemongrass, coconut sugar, black pepper, salt, Worcestershire, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vegetable oil) directly to the chicken. Massage and marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Skewer the chicken.
- Scrape the grill grates clean then place the chicken skewers on the grates and close the lid. Rotate with tongs after 5 minutes or until you see a deep black char. You can even use a crushed stock of lemongrass to brush the chicken with extra marinade as it cooks.
- Remove the cooked chicken and garnish with chopped cilantro and peanut sauce. Serve hot.
mirin –This is Japanese cooking wine. A good substitute is Chinese Xiaosheng cooking wine or sherry cooking wine (not sherry vinegar).
coconut or palm sugar –This is a wholesome, minimally process sweetener that has a savory flavor profile. A good substitute would be brown sugar or unprocessed cane sugar.
worcestershire –This has a tangy, umami flavor. You can also substitute fish sauce for a gluten free diet. The fish sauce will add a funky flavor that is frequently used in Thai food.
lemongrass –If you’ve never worked with lemongrass, there’s a hard outer layer that you can’t cut through. Peel away that layer and then remove the tough ends. It should be easy to mince with a sharp knife.
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