Pork Satay With Thai Spices and Peanut Sauce Recipe (2024)

By David Tanis

Pork Satay With Thai Spices and Peanut Sauce Recipe (1)

Total Time
45 minutes, plus marinating
Read community notes

Throughout Southeast Asia, little skewers of marinated meat, grilled over coals, are sold as street snacks. Sweetly fragrant with coconut milk and spices, they are perfect for barbecue parties served with steamed rice, or on their own with drinks, whether grilled indoors or out. You may use pork loin or tenderloin, but marbled sirloin or shoulder is more succulent.

Featured in: Satay, a Sizzling Restaurant Favorite Easily Made at Home

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Yield:12 small skewers

    For the Skewers

    • pounds pork loin, tenderloin or shoulder, sliced into thin rectangles (¼ inch x 1 inch x 2 inches; you should have about 24 pieces)
    • 1shallot, minced
    • 2garlic cloves, minced
    • 1tablespoon grated ginger
    • 3tablespoons chopped lemongrass
    • 1teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
    • 1teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
    • teaspoons turmeric
    • ¼teaspoon cayenne
    • 1tablespoon fish sauce
    • 1tablespoon lime juice
    • 2teaspoons soy sauce
    • 1tablespoon brown sugar
    • ½cup coconut milk
    • Cilantro and basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

    For the Cucumbers

    • 1pound Persian or Japanese cucumbers, peeled, halved and cut into ¼-inch slices
    • ½teaspoon salt
    • 2tablespoons lime juice
    • 2tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2small shallots thinly sliced, about ¼ cup
    • 2fresh Thai or serrano chiles, sliced into rounds

    For the Peanut Sauce

    • 1cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
    • 2cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1teaspoon soy sauce
    • 2teaspoons sesame oil
    • 2tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2tablespoons fish sauce
    • 2tablespoons lime juice, more to taste
    • teaspoon cayenne
    • ½cup coconut milk

Ingredient Substitution Guide


  1. Step


    Prepare the skewers: Put pork in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together shallot, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, fish sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and coconut milk, and pour over meat. Toss with your hands to coat well. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Meanwhile, soak 12 bamboo skewers in water.

  2. Step


    Prepare the cucumbers: Put cucumbers in a mixing bowl and season with salt. Add lime juice, sugar, shallots and chiles and toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Check seasoning, then transfer to a serving dish.

  3. Step


    Prepare the peanut sauce: Pulse the peanuts briefly in a food processor just until finely ground. Add the garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, cayenne and coconut milk, and process until well puréed. Transfer to a bowl, then taste and adjust seasoning. Thin a bit with lime juice or water as desired.

  4. Step


    Thread 2 slices of pork onto each bamboo skewer, keeping the meat as flat as possible. Grill over hot coals, under the broiler or on a stovetop grill pan for 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and lightly browned. Transfer to a platter and garnish with cilantro and basil leaves. Serve with cucumber relish and peanut sauce.



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Cooking Notes


I want to marry this sauce and have its children. I'm not entirely sure, but I believe I would eat it on roasted sneaker.

Suzanne F

Marinade would work just fine on chicken. Use tenders, thin slices of breast, or lightly pounded pieces of boneless thigh (to get to the proper thickness). In fact, that marinade would probably make cardboard taste good. (Although I don't think it needs the sugar. When I made something similar at Match restaurant, we used no sugar.)

Barbara K

You need to soak the bamboo skewers well in water before threading them into the meat. This keeps them from catching fire on the grill.

Victoria T

If you want the taste of Indonesia, you add very ripe sweet banana to the peanut sauce. I'm guessing sweetness or the lack of it depends on where you are in Southeast Asia.


fpr the peanut sauce: Don't bother with the food processor, too much trouble. Just use peanut butter in a bowl with everything else.. Don't forget to add a little tamarind and a splash of rice vinegar. Maybe Sriracha instead of cayenne? Mix with a spoon for goodness sake. Then slather it on the sneaker.


hats off to nyt readers for having the most informative comments section of any u.s. newspaper. nyt recipes are regularly reprinted in my local cleveland plain dealer, and either nobody bothers with the recipes, or bothers to comment. so, thank you, very cool new yorkers, for letting me share in your discussion. yes, this was delicious and i very much enjoyed the lagniappe recipes for the peanut sauce and cucumbers. very tasty dish and perfect for a lovely evening on the shores of lake erie.


Good recipe, all three parts. Made once as written. Pressed for time the next time, made with whole trimmed pork tenderloins which I soaked in the marinade overnight. Grilled, then sliced and served on a platter with jasmine rice, cilantro garnish. Passed bowls of the peanut sauce and cucumber relish on the table. Big hit both ways.


Red Boat


Made this with chicken thighs cut into strips. It was amazing. I also added avocado and sliced red onions to the cucumber salad (red onions sliced thin and soaked in ice water for 20 minutes). If the salad sits more than 15 minutes, you need to add a dose of lime juice to brighten the flavors. Will definitely make again and try pork.


Suzanne F, I have to disagree on the sugar. Ideally, and authentically, one would use palm sugar, rather than conventional brown sugar (as David Tanis has indicated in other recipes). Palm sugar is so delicious it ought to be illegal.

Eric Phillips

Chilled both the meat and sauce overnight and served cold the next day. Flavors transformed and developed more depth; a fantastic combination. I will use this as a make-ahead appetizer.


Loved eating it, didn't mind the many steps and ingredients. In the interest of time, I just used powered cumin and coriander. The recipe was plenty flavorful. Used the remaining coconut milk to replace part of the water in the rice I served with this dish.


Please prove it.


Or, simply more fish sauce!


I would try a splash of unsweetened rice wine vinegar - fish sauce is much sharper and acidic than soy, so the vinegar should do the trick. What fish sauce really adds is not only flavor but umami - that fifth taste sense - that enhances everything else. Anything else that adds umami could be used as well - you could try some miso paste stirred into the vinegar - I think that would be great!

Claire Gunter

This is a standard in our house and here's how I make it less fussy:- 2-3x the marinade and freeze for future use- do the peanut sauce using an immersion blenderI also double the lime juice in the cukes or it's dry.

Rudi Wortmann

I make this all the time and is my speciality. I marinade chicken,, which is diced, in a bowl with oil, teaspoon of sugar bit of lemon, soy sauce, garlic and a bit of red pepper. I then mix it with some brandy. let is marinade over night in the fridge or longer (the better). for peanut sauce see my other comment

Rudi Wortmann

Peanut sauce for with chicken satay. Start to heat the olive oil, add peanut butter, few spoons or whatever you need. Mix it while it heats up. teaspoon of sugar bit of lemon, soy sauce, garlic and a bit of red pepper. Cooking it is not that easy as the stuff sticks. so keep adding either water milk or oil. or a combination. I always use milk. It thickens really quick so I do not let it simmer at all, just reheat when needed.

joyces note

Excellent. Make again. Peanut sauce makes the dish


I made this low-heat so my kids could try it and sneer like I was poisoning them, no other major deviations from the recipe. Used long metal skewers but cooked about half the batch loose on the griddle side of a cast iron skillet under the broiler. We did not care for the cucumber dish (too sweet for us) but the pork and sauce were quite good. Served with coconut saffron rice. Next time I’ll let it marinate overnight (did about 3 hours) and not skip the full amount of chilis.


Made with peanut butter instead of peanuts and sesame oil and it was delicious


Excellent. Didn't bother with the skewers and just cooked the pork slices under the broiler; otherwise I made no other changes and served with jasmine rice.

L Ran

Good! Used with Costco chicken skewers


Has anyone tried this with cashews? Peanut Allergy


Used Greek yogurt instead of coconut milkUsed one scallion instead of shallotUsed chunky peanut butter instead of grinding whole peanutsUsed lemon instead of lime and instead of lemongrass because that's what was on hand.LOVED THIS!

John Anderson

it was ok. I don't mind it. I just can't rave about it. Sauce was nice, skewers were a bit bland... I am not sure about all the rave reviews here.


This was more like a 1.5-2 hour recipe. But it was delicious.


The peanut sauce needed the zing and brightness of grated ginger. It upped the deliciousness.


I used chicken breasts & marinated them for 6 hours. Because the pieces were thin, they only required about 5 - 6 minutes on the grill. Sadly, the result was a mushy texture - perhaps the lime juice in the marinade was to blame? The peanut sauce was terrific - I used natural peanut butter & didn't make the cucumber salad. Overall, a disappointing result considering the work involved. Not sure if it's worth trying again with pork.

Amy B

A hit! Fabulous flavors, layers of flavors. Did not make the cucumber salad - had salad rolls instead - but the pork skewers and peanut sauce were a smashing success. Will make this again and again and again!

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Pork Satay With Thai Spices and Peanut Sauce Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between satay sauce and peanut sauce? ›

Although commonly associated with Thai cuisine, peanut sauce actually originated in Indonesia (source). What Americans know as peanut sauce is more commonly referred to as satay sauce (or bumbu kacang) in Indonesia, because it's most often served with the popular Indonesian dish, satay (skewered, grilled meats).

How to use Thai peanut satay sauce? ›

If you have extra peanut sauce, you can thin it out and toss it with noodles, or serve it over rice or with vegetables. You can also use it as a salad dressing! Looking for a fun presentation? Dress up the platter with chopped cilantro, basil leaves, crushed peanuts and a swirl of Sriracha in the dipping bowl.

What is the difference between Thai satay and Malaysian satay? ›

Thai satay is commonly made of chicken or pork and served with a pickled cucumber salad called achat. Malaysian satay is typically chicken or beef and is served with a thick peanut sauce, chopped red onion, cucumber, and little squares of compressed rice known as ketupat.

What is satay sauce made of? ›

The prominent ingredient of a satay sauce is peanuts, alongside soy sauce, salt, garlic, coconut, chilli, onion and lemon are added for a fragrant taste. Delicious meat skewers called Satay and its popular peanut sauce are well known in most cities around the world.

Is Satay Sauce Chinese or Thai? ›

Although both Thailand and Malaysia claim it as their own, its Southeast Asian origin was in Java, Indonesia. There satay was developed from the Indian kebab brought by the Muslim traders.

What is the difference between Chinese and Thai satay? ›

The Chinese take out version of Chicken in Satay Sauce is quite different from Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian Satay Sauce. It's less coconut-y and less peanut-y (are they real words??), doesn't have bits of crushed peanuts in the sauce, and has a stronger flavour from satay seasoning.

How do you use Trader Joe's Thai peanut satay? ›

Use it to marinate chicken or shrimp, dress your salads, or as a dip for veggies or grilled meat. You can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water. Top with crushed Trader Joe's 50% Less Salt Roasted & Salted Peanuts for an extra burst of nuttiness and a delightful crunch.

What goes well with peanut satay sauce? ›

Carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, red peppers, and snow peas are just some of the vegetables that taste great when paired with Thai Peanut Sauce. Try a unique twist with your veggies and dip Summer Rolls into the rich, peanut flavor!

What do you eat with satay sauce? ›

What to serve with your satay sauce
  1. Easy Chicken Satay Skewersor my Beef Satay.
  2. Thai Fish Cakes.
  3. Honey Garlic Chicken Skewers.
  4. Thai Chicken Salad.
  5. Vegetarian Buddha Bowls.
  6. Asian Mushrooms with Cashews and Veggies.
Apr 13, 2020

Is satay served with peanut sauce or soy sauce? ›

Satays are commonly served with peanut sauce. However, satay does not actually mean peanut sauce – Southeast Asia's favourite street food snack is a dish of skewered, grilled meat with infinite variations.

Which cut of beef is best for satay? ›

Here are my tips for getting this beef satay to come out perfectly.
  1. What cut of beef to use. For starters, you'll want to use flank steak or skirt steak. ...
  2. Marinating is the key. You should also marinate for at least one hour at room temperature. ...
  3. Secret weapon. ...
  4. Skewers.
Aug 31, 2018

What is the name of the rice in satay? ›

Chicken satay with pressed rice (nasi impit)

What is Thai peanut sauce made of? ›

Thai Peanut Sauce is made up of peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, a sweetener (I used maple syrup), rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds, a spice and water. In some more traditional versions, coconut milk is used instead of water, but I find this combination to be perfect.

What is Thai peanut sauce called? ›

Satay sauce is a slightly spicy peanut sauce. While it's popularly associated with Thai cuisine, it's enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia and has Indonesian roots. It's best known as the sauce for satay, a tasty appetizer of marinated meat (often chicken, pork, or beef) grilled on a skewer.

What kind of meat is satay? ›

The most popular satay is chicken or pork satay, but beef is also used as well as tofu satay. To make satay, the meat is cut into thin strips or small bite-size pieces, then marinated in a flavorful mixture of herbs and spices.

Does Satay Sauce taste like peanuts? ›

(under different names) It is also used in some European cuisine. The key ingredient is peanuts which together with kecap (soy sauce) gives it a salty and mildly spicy taste. Many different recipes for making peanut sauces exist, which means that all these satay sauces taste differently.

Is Satay Sauce made from peanut butter? ›

Directions. Combine coconut milk, peanut butter, onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

Is satay always peanut? ›

Sate doesn't actually mean spicy peanut sauce, though we tend to misappropriate the term here, and other dishes have been invented that use this accompanying sauce. Sate refers instead to the skewers of meat, and many variations of it come with a different sauce, and some without any sauce at all.

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