You are an ex-pat in Bangkok walking on a cluttered sidewalk under a night sky whose darkness is drowned out by the loud multitude of city lights.
Your eyes used to sparkle with wonder at the city life waking up right when you finished work, and you’d merrily jump into the melee, but now your eyes are glazed over from the stress fog of living in a culture that’s not one you grew up in, plus you’re feeling hangry angst.
Suddenly you feel a whoosh of shocking cool air as a motorcycle taxi zooms past you at a million miles an hour, zipping in and out of traffic and onto the sidewalk like the driver is the star of an action movie that just barely escaped the evil villain.
You take a deep breath to calm your racing heart, and thank the Lord that yet again you weren’t run over. As you stroll you smell the gas fumes from streets packed with buses, tuk-tuks, cars, taxis, motorcycles, and the scent of a million different foods being grilled, stir-fried, deep-fried, and steamed on the street. The aromas mix together, making the strong, heady perfume of Bangkok city life.
You hear the whizz of the skytrain stopping at a station over you, and the sing-song notes of a group of chatting Thai school girls dressed in their school uniforms of white shirts and dark blue, swishing pleated skirts that end just below their knees. Their black braids swing as they skip merrily down the sky train steps.
Your eyes finally light up as you see the soi (aka a side-street) you were looking for and head to a popular Bangkok street vendor you’ve never been to but whom all your Thai friends say has the best Thai chicken satay in your neighborhood.
As you walk to the small stand, you see a brownish-grayish, skinny soi dog scamper behind the vendor, looking for any pieces of sneaky satay that might have slipped to the ground. Your mouth starts to water as you gaze at the two solid rows of Thai chicken satay on bamboo skewers sizzling like fireworks on an old stained grill.
Your tense body starts to relax and your hangry angst starts to melt, as you watch the sunshine yellow turmeric chicken get faded lines of crispy black from the firey grill. You order a serving of the Thai chicken satay from the focused vendor, an older man wearing a worn red apron, a once white now gray baseball cap and a dark blue mask.
He quickly pops off four skewers, and places them on a faded pink plastic plate, already loaded up with a small plastic blue bowl of Thai cucumber relish with bright red Thai chilies and pale purple shallots floating in it in, and a small white bowl of steaming, thick red brown Thai peanut sauce and stacked next to it all, triangles of toasted white bread.
Just taking a whiff of the freshly grilled Thai chicken satay and the creamy Thai peanut sauce starts to ease the tension in your mind as you walk to an open small, rickety table with a bright blue metal stool. As you sit, you feel a bit of sweat still on it from its last resident, but that doesn’t phase you anymore. You sit as close as you can to a nearby plugged in fan and are grateful that at least at 8pm it is only 90 degrees instead of 110 like earlier in the day.
You dip the Thai chicken satay in the creamy red brown peanut sauce and quickly stab some crisp cucumber and Thai chili pepper to follow it. The mix of spicy Thai sauce, crunchy cucumber and soft, yet crispy Thai chicken satay makes you close your eyes like you are in a dream.
All the racket of the Bangkok city street and your hangriness gently fades away with that bite, as you escape for a moment the stress of figuring out and adapting to a new culture, and feel as refreshed as just having just had a Thai massage.
Each bite is better than the last.
When you finish it all you smile blissfully, feeling the fog lift and that wide-eyed wonder at this exotic city return to your eyes and an eagerness to learn more about this Thai culture that makes food so good it can magically lift the burden of a heavy heart.
Will you feel the same after you make your own Thai chicken satay? I sure hope so!!
P.S: Like I mentioned in my Legit Thai Peanut Sauce post, everywhere you look online you will find a zillion “Thai peanut sauce recipes” that are paired with a zillion different dishes.
But did you know that there is really only ONE dish in Thailand that is served with an authentic Thai peanut sauce? And Thai Chicken or Pork Satay is it!
Dreams of using Authentic Thai Peanut Sauce they way it was always meant to be used are made today! Yay!
I’d love to see your Thai Chicken or Pork Satay goodness! Tag me on Instagram @thaifoode and I’ll share it on my stories!Print
Thai chicken satay packed with flavorful Thai spices and served with a spicy, sweet Thai peanut sauce and refreshing cucumber relish?! Yup, heaven on a stick!
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 fresh Thai chile, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Thai Chicken or Pork Satay
- 3 lb chicken breasts or chicken thighs or boneless pork shoulder aka pork butt or Boston butt
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric*
- 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup pineapple or orange juice
- 13. 6 oz can coconut milk, divided
- 2 slices white sandwich bread (optional)
- Legit Thai Peanut Sauce
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, water and salt.
- Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat, and let the mixture cool.
- Immediately before it’s time to eat, add the rest of the ingredients. If you add them too soon the cucumbers will get mushy.
Thai Chicken or Pork Satay
- Cut the chicken or pork into 3 inch or so long strips, 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick.
- Mix the the turmeric, coriander, cumin, brown sugar, juice, and 1 cup of coconut milk in a large bowl.
- Add the meat, and let it marinate minimum 2 hours or up to overnight.
- After marinating, add meat to bamboo skewers, about three pieces per skewer threaded on.
- While grilling, use the rest of the coconut milk to baste the Thai chicken or pork satay. Grill on medium high heat for 20 minutes until no longer pink.
- Serve with authentic Thai peanut sauce, cucumber relish and slices of toasted sandwich bread to dip in the Thai peanut sauce.
I love marinating the pork because it really helps with the texture and flavor, but if you don’t have time, it’s all good.
Beware, the turmeric does stain, so be careful when mixing up the marinade in the pork and putting it on the sticks
We like this best as a weekend meal, since it does take some time to prep all the things. Here is a timeline for ya:
Day before: Cut meat, and marinate it. Make the authentic Thai peanut sauce, and cucumber relish syrup. Chop what will go into the syrup, but don’t add it to the syrup yet, or it will get mushy by the next day. Instead, put veggies in a separate container to be added right before serving.
Day of grilling: Heat up the peanut sauce, put the meat on the skewers, and mix in the pre-chopped shallots, cucumbers, Thai chili, and cilantro into the cucumber relish syrup. Grill Thai chicken or pork satay and devour!
I’ve also not put it on skewers and instead broiled it on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes or until blackened in spots and cooked through!
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Pork
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Thai
Keywords: Thai chicken satay, thai chicken kebab, grilled Thai chicken skewers, Thai pork satay, thai pork kebab, grilled Thai pork skewers, Thai cucumber relish, Thai peanut sauce, authentic Thai peanut sauce