Appetizers & Snacks

The fastest chicken satay ever

I was thawing chicken thigh fillets for dinner and I asked Speedy how he wanted them cooked — chicken parmigiana or chicken with orange glaze? He asked me to describe chicken parmigiana to him and I said it’s like chicken schnitzel (or milanesa, if you prefer the South American name) but slathered with chunky tomato sauce, topped with cheese then broiled until the cheese melts.

He didn’t seem impressed and asked what chicken with orange glaze was. I told him it was a stir fry that I saw Sunny Anderson cook on her show. And he immediately said, “Not that!” He doesn’t like Sunny Anderson. He thinks she talks too much and drowns out the actual cooking instructions with her incessant chatter. So, okay, I’ll do the chicken with orange glaze another time. But since he didn’t seem to like the idea of chicken parmigiana either, I decided to make something that he would surely like — satay. The fastest chicken satay ever

For non-Asians, “satay” (sate in Indonesian) is the generic term for diced, marinated and grilled skewered meat in Southeast Asia. There are already two chicken satay recipes in the archive, with and without peanut butter, but I’m adding a third version for a very special reason — this latest version only requires a marinating time of 10 minutes or just long enough to fire up the grill or preheat the oven.

What’s with the short marinating time? I used a dry rub  — partially. Remember the post about dry rubs? I know I said that dry rubs tend to make the meat dry if the meat is cut into small pieces. That’s exactly why the marinating time is only 10 minutes — just long enough for the chicken to absorb the flavors and seasonings but not so long that the natural juices of the chicken are drawn out.


  • 8 chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 tbsps. of powdered ginger brew (yes, salabat, but see the notes at the end)
  • 1/2 tsp. of chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. of Kosher salt
  • juice of one lemon or lime
  • 3 tbsps. of honey


  1. Start firing up the grill or preheating the oven to 475F, if using an oven.
  2. Cut each chicken thigh fillet into one-inch cubes.
  3. Put the chicken in a bowl. Add all the ingredients and mix, working the seasonings into the meat with your hands.
  4. Thread the chicken cubes into bamboo skewers, four to five pieces per stick. Lay in a single layer in a tray or platter and leave to continue marinating until the grill or oven is ready.
  5. Grill for about five minutes per side (in an oven, so long as the skewers are arranged on a rack, there is no need to turn them — just cook for a total of 10 minutes).
  6. Serve immediately. Nuoc cham (get the recipe) is the recommended dipping sauce.

Quick notes

If you’re not familiar with powdered ginger brew, or if unavailable, you can substitute about 1/2 tsp. of powdered ginger plus about 1 and 1/2 tbsps. of sugar.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8 to 10 sticks good for 2 to 4

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