Malay Satay Recipe (Satay Marinade & Peanut Sauce)

Malay Satay

Satay or sate is a dish consisting of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef or other meats; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut leaf, although bamboo skewers are often used. These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings.

Singapore Malay Satay Recipe (chicken satay, mutton satay, beef satay)


  • 1 lb beef (tenderloin, rib eye or flank steak)
  • 1 lb boneless chicken (preferably boneless leg meat)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 12 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch turmeric root (kunyit basah) (Substitute: galangal, lengkuas in Malay, or if both unavailable, substitute with fresh ginger)
  • 1 tsp white peppercorn
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp belacan, also spelt belachan or blacan (dried shrimp paste)


  • 2 seedless cucumber, cut into bite-size wedges
  • 2 red onions, cut in bite-size wedges
  • About 50 bamboo skewers, soaked in water 1 hr
  • 4 tbsp oil combined with 1 tbsp sugar (This is the oil mixture for basting)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk – cut the leaves or blades end straight across. Use a string to tie it into a basting brush (optional)


  1. Grind shallots, garlic, turmeric root (or galangal, or ginger), peppercorn, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and belacan into a paste
  2. Add turmeric powder and sugar to the paste, and mix well. (This is the satay marinade)
  3. Slice beef and chicken into thin long strips, and place into separate containers. To each meat, add half each of the satay marinade, and mix well to evenly coat the strips of meat
  4. Marinate the beef and chicken strips for at least 3-4 hours. Best if marinated overnight (refrigerated)
  5. Treadle 3 to 5 strips of meat onto each bamboo skewer, leaving 3 to 4 inch bare at the ‘handle end’
  6. Grill satays on a hot charcoal bbq grill, indoor grill or on a stovetop grill pan until golden brown. Turn and baste often with the sugar & oil mixture, preferably with your homemade ‘lemongrass brush’

Satay Marinade:

Chicken Satay

Serve Satay with a small bowl of satay peanut sauce for dipping, and the cucumber and onion wedges on the side. Satay is often served with Ketupat or Lontong, (a Malay rice cake).

Ingredients for Satay Peanut Sauce:

  • 3 candlenuts (buah keras in Malay) (Substitute: macadamia nuts)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups roasted peanuts, coarsely pounded
  • ½ cup peanut oil, or vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • Salt
  • 2-3 med red onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 5 tbsp chili paste
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, 4 to 6 inch of the ‘white” ends only, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp belacan, also spelt belachan or blacan (dried shrimp paste)

To Prepare Satay Peanut Sauce:

  1. Grind chili paste, onions, garlic, candlenuts, belacan and lemongrass into a paste
  2. In a bowl, add warm water to tamarind pulp. Using your fingers, squish and mix the tamarind pulp to extract ‘juice’. Strain to discard seeds and fibers
  3. In a saucepan, heat oil, add ground paste, saute until quite toasted, and oil starts to seep out
  4. Add tamarind juice, bring to a boil, add coconut milk, sugar and salt to taste. Bring sauce to boil again, then reduce to slowly simmer for 10 mins
  5. Add pounded peanuts, simmer for another 5 to 10 mins, or until the sauce reaches a ‘thickness’ to your liking (Note: Add more coconut milk if sauce becomes too thick, and if sauce is too thin, simmer longer)
  6. Serve satay peanut sauce warm, or at room temperature, in a small bowl as an accompaniment for dipping the satays. It is great for dipping Ketupat, (a Malay rice cake), often served with satay.
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  1. Anonymous

    I want to know how to make the rice block that you get with the satary, cucumber & onions. You show it in the picture but don’t describe it in the recipe.

  2. Ryan D

    Hi, please follow this link –

  3. Anonymous

    Hi, I’d like to find up how many people can this amount of satay serve?

  4. Ryan D

    hi, this recipe will be good for about 5-6 paxs. 1lb is equals to appox. 1/2 kilos, which will make about 50 satay sticks. Well, that is about 10 satays per person! I can finish 15 at one go..

  5. finders

    Excellent recipe and the result is great. But the recipe itself needs to be edited properly. It’s confusing and does not flow well.

  6. Caroline

    Can’t wait to make this….and eat it!!!

  7. Chan

    Sounds delicious. For the satay sauce, what type/brand of chili paste do you recommend? Or, could you use soaked red chili’s as well?