Make these quick and easy one pan, cast iron Thai chicken satay skewers for a perfect party appetizer or main dish recipe to share! It’s healthy, low carb, and flavor packed!
While this is not a truly authentic Thai satay recipe, I was inspired to use the flavors to create an easier, one pan style recipe you could whip together for a busier weeknight or quick party appetizer.
Traditional Thai chicken satay is a popular grilled street food recipe you can find in open air markets, malls and more throughout Thailand. While this is not a truly traditional recipe, I wanted to incorporate the flavors into a dish that would fit a wide variety of diets and that can be made quickly!
While I normally love some grilled chicken skewers, I opted to cook and sear these in my cast iron pan. Grill is still 100% possible to do with this recipe, but I know not everyone has access to a grill either.
Check out this healthy and easy chicken satay inspired recipe below and read through for my helpful cooking tips and techniques for making this recipe a foolproof success. Let’s dive in!
- Cast Iron Pan (or heavy bottom skillet)
- Mixing Bowl
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Measuring cups/ Spoons
- Skewers or Longer Wood Toothpicks
Below I bread down the ingredients I used, the cooking method, and additional tips and techniques to help you along the way. Here is what you need to know:
- Chicken Breast – I went with standard chicken breast meat for this recipe and diced the meat into strips and then into cubes about one inch or so each. You can swap the white meat out for boneless chicken thighs if you prefer as well.
- Coconut Milk – I used a full fat coconut milk for the base of my marinade. Light milk will work in a pinch as well. Be sure to shake the can well before opening to help mix in some of the fat that naturally settles near the top.
- Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce – I used coconut aminos for a soy free version of this recipe for dietary reasons. Both are a great option for adding flavor to the marinade and the peanut sauced used for dipping.
- Chili Paste – I like a little heat both in the marinade and in the peanut butter satay sauce that’s typically served on the side or over the top. You can also used some red chili flakes or a sauce like sriracha instead.
- Fish Sauce – I used a very small amount of fish sauce in the marinade. You can omit and just stick to using the coconut aminos or soy sauce, but this just adds a little punch of flavor.
- Lime Juice – A great acidic and flavorful add in for the chicken marinade.
- Ground Ginger – Adds flavor, you can also use fresh ginger too.
- Curry Powder – Adds color and flavor to the marinated chicken.
- Peanut Butter – I like a natural, sugar free peanut butter when possible. This is the base for the peanut dipping sauce.
- Rice Wine Vinegar – This adds a bit of a acidic zing to your peanut sauce and thins it out a bit.
- Garnishes – I like a small amount of chopped peanuts, cilantro, and a little red pepper for some color.
How To Make The Chicken Satay Marinade:
In a bowl (or even a blender) combine your coconut milk, coconut aminos, chili paste, lime juice, fish sauce, and curry powder and ground ginger together. Whisk until completely combined or blend in a small smoothie style blender bottle until it is one cohesive mixture.
In a mixing bowl, add the diced chicken breast meat and submerge it completely. Marinades always work best with at least a minimum of two hours but can even be premade up to 24 hours in advance.
To make your chicken satay, take a piece of the marinated chicken and thread the chicken onto a wooden or metal skewer. I use longer bamboo style picks that work just fine on a stove top. If grilling or baking, try pre-soaking any wooden skewers for at 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.
Like I mentioned above, a traditional chicken satay is grilled. While you almost always find me out on the grill instead of cooking on the stove, this recipe was an exception but can really work anywhere or on any cooking surface.
Here are my tips and techniques for cooking your chicken satay:
Stove Top/ Cast Iron Pan: This is the method I used that is pictured. Cast iron pans with a flat surface or even a s cast iron grill pan work best for searing and getting that delicious brown crust.
Always pre-heat your pan and sear in a higher smoke point oil when cooking indoors. Sear each side of your skewered grilled chicken in batches in the pan, about 3-4 minutes per side. The final temperature should reach 165 F internally.
Grilling: Whether you love gas or charcoal, firing up the grill will add a lot of authentic flavor to this recipe. Use longer, more stable skewers if grilling over higher direct heat temperatures.
Set your grill to a medium heat (400 F.) so you can brown the outside and cook the inside evenly. Turn your skewers often to get a nice char and cook until 165 F. internally.
Baking: Bake your skewers if you need a totally hands off method. While you may not get as much flavor from a cast iron sear or the grill, the method will still get the job done. Cook in a 400 F. preheated oven.
Place your chicken skewers over a cooling rack elevated on a baking sheet to help the air pass both over and under your chicken. Broil the last couple of minutes on high for color. Bake time is roughly 12-15 minutes or until 165 F. internal temperature.
Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce:
Serve your chicken satay skewers with the perfect peanut dipping sauce. I use a similar sauce recipe in my Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai and it just hits the spot! Combine together:
- natural peanut butter
- chili paste (for heat)
- rice wine vinegar
- coconut aminos/ soy sauce
- water to thin it if needed
Whisk everything together in a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of water to the mixture to help thin it out into a creamy, yet thinner sauce that makes it easy for dipping!
- Chicken and Marinade:
- 1 lb. Chicken Breast, diced into 1 inch cubes
- 8 oz. Coconut Milk
- 1/4 cup Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp. Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp. Chili Paste
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Ginger
- 1/2 tsp. Curry Powder
- 1 Lime, juiced
- Avocado Oil (or high smoke point oil) for searing
- Peanut Dipping Sauce:
- 1/4 cup All Natural Peanut Butter
- 1 tsp. Chili Paste
- 2 tsp. Rice Vinegar
- 3 tbsp. Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce
- 2-4 tbsp. Water as needed
- Garnish- Cilantro, Lime Wedges, Chile Flakes, Peanuts
In a bowl, prep your chicken satay marinade by combining the coconut milk, coconut aminos, chili paste, fish sauce, lime juice, ginger, and curry powder and whisk or blend until fully mixed.
Add in the diced chicken so it is fully coated and submerged in the marinade and let it sit, covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the extra marinade.
Place the chicken onto your chosen skewers (I use a smaller skewer so the portions are more evenly divided and easier to eat off of) and set aside.
Before searing your chicken, prep the peanut dipping sauce. Combine the peanut butter, aminos or soy sauce, chili paste, rice vinegar, and water (as needed to thin it) into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into a small dish for dipping and set aside.
Preheat a cast iron or heavy bottom pan to medium high heat and swirl the pan with a few tablespoons of the avocado oil (higher smoke point oils work the best).
Cook the chicken by searing a handful of the skewers at a time (roughly 1/2 to -1/3) in batches as to not over crowd the pan. Sear each side roughly 3-4 minutes and flip and repeat. Check that the internal temperature of your chicken is 165 F.
Repeat this process until all your skewers are fully cooked and seared nicely.
Set them out on a plate or platter and garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro, or red chili flakes for color and enjoy!
Want to grill or bake this recipe? See the blog post above for detailed instructions for other cooking methods!