Chatujak satay


Where there’s a market there’s satay. Sticks of something grilling, wafting and deliciously sticky.


  • 500 g skinned free-range chicken breast fillets, roughly chopped, or pork mince
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped palm sugar or caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 stick lemongrass, trimmed, outer leaves discarded, finely chopped
  • 2 birdseye chillies, very finely chopped
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded and chopped, or use finely grated zest from 2 limes
  • 4 small shallots (preferably Thai), finely chopped
  • 100 ml coconut cream
  • ½ stem fresh green peppercorns, chopped, or a good twist of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • vegetable or groundnut oil
  • bottled Thai sweet chilli dipping sauce and chopped coriander, to serve


If using chicken, put it in a processor and briefly pulse to make a coarse mince-like paste. Stir the sugar with the fish sauce until dissolved, then mix this with the lemongrass, chillies and lime leaves, and leave to infuse for about 15 minutes. Tip this mixture over the minced meat, along with the shallots, coconut cream and pepper and stir through, then sprinkle over the cornflour and thoroughly combine to make a paste. Chill the paste, covered, for an hour or so, or until firmed up, then mould the mixture around presoaked bamboo sticks, making slim sausage shapes, and refrigerate, covered, until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, brush the meat all over with oil and grill over hot coals or on a chargrill pan or under a hot grill, turning occasionally, until cooked through and golden. Get that dipping sauce out, and herbaceous things too, if you have them.