Indonesian Chicken and Pork Satay (Sate Ayam dan Babi)

Sweet marinated meat, skewered and char-grilled for that irresistible, flame-kissed, smoky flavor.

Indonesian Chicken and Pork Satay

Indonesian Pork and Chicken Satay 2

If you recall I have had many wonderful eating experiences stemming from that International Dorm in Hawaii (Niku-Jaga, Chicken Pho, Thai Son-in-Law Eggs, Indonesian-inspired Sauteed Shrimp). But for this particular recipe, my memories are not based in the dorm. Yes, the Indonesian friends who made them were from that dorm but we had taken the satay and hibachi (portable grill) and had gone to cook them at the park by the beach. Hawaii does that to you—it makes you want to go out to the beach as often as you can!

So imagine with me, if you can, the cool tradewind breezes, and in the background, the sound of Hawaiian music playing on somebody’s boombox, the blue ocean beckoning a slight distance away, the wide, expansive park next to the beach and us sitting under a shady tree with our hibachi going. Now that you have that setting in your mind, imagine any food not tasting just wonderful. But this was satay, it wasn’t just any food, it was GOOD food.

Us with our Indonesian friends at Kapiolani Park

indonesian friends at kapiolani park

(thanks for scanning the pic, Nina!)

Before that time, I’ve only ever had Malaysian satay and I will tell you now that to me, Malaysian satay is the best in the world. But it’s hard to make—there are tons of spices to grind and the ingredients list are a mile long. I only reserve making those on really special occasions (or now that I’m home, I just leave it to others to make for me). Indonesian satay, on the other hand, is much easier to prep and the flavor is really good but different.

The main difference is that Indonesian satay calls for Kecap Manis (“Ket-chup Ma-niss”). And not just a little bit of it, it calls for a huge amount of it. Let’s just say that if you wanted to know what Indonesian satay tasted like—it basically tastes like kecap manis with some spices thrown in. And this is not a bad thing—kecap manis is seriously addictive stuff. If you’ve never tried it, you need to go get yourself some from your Asian grocery store (I recommend the ABC brand) and be careful that you don’t end up guzzling it once you get a taste of it.

Falling in Love All Over Again

Coming back to this beach grill outing—we were all sitting around and my friends, Nina and Joe and some of their other Indonesian friends were grilling the satay sticks and next thing you know, they were done and we were handed some. I took a bite and fell in love. It was so delicious, so sweet yet slightly spicy—like a jazzed up chicken yakitori (something else that is heavily soy-sauce and sugar based!) with a peanut sauce that was also drenched in kecap manis, bird’s eye chillies and lime juice (both Nate and I could not stop eating—thankfully they had made enough for us pigs!).

Unfortunately for me, I totally spazzed on getting the recipe from Nina and Joe. The fortunate thing is that we got to eat them several more times while in Hawaii. But once we left Hawaii, I didn’t think about it too much and I certainly didn’t think to make them myself. And after several years, I had completely forgotten about these Indonesian satays. Then, just recently, while reading Rasa Malaysia’s blog, I saw them there. She had a guest blogger (Rita from Mochachocolata-Rita blog) who posted the recipe for Indonesian Sate. Those memories just came flooding right back and my need for them was suddenly quite desperate.

So, I set about getting all the ingredients. First, I bought some kecap manis (thankfully, after checking out a few stores, I found the one selling the right brand!). Then I got the chicken, the bamboo skewers, and the chillies. Everything else I had at home. I was good to go!

ABC Brand Kicap Manis

kicap manis

I ended up making both chicken and pork satays. I had a bag of pork meat sitting in my freezer that was perfect for this so I decided to try it. And after the grilling was done, Nate and I ate much too many sticks for just our small family (these were not Indonesian sized sticks, they were almost double the size!). I must say, they were not as good as what I recall from my memory of it but then again, this was not eating at a park by the beach in balmy Hawaii! But Nate pronounced them delicious and ate more than 12 sticks to prove his point! We were rolling off the table by the time we were done!

Have a try—it’s really quite simple to do and addictive to eat.

Indonesian Chicken and Pork Satay Recipe

adapted from Rasa Malaysia ala MochaChocolata-Rita
(makes about 40-50 sticks depending on how much meat you stick on them)

50 bamboo skewers (be sure to soak your skewers for several hours before using so that when you grill them, they won’t burn)
500g chicken meat cut into bite-size pieces (I think I had about a lb or more worth of chicken—750g?)—dark meat preferable
500g pork meat cut into bite-sized pieces (it’s better to get pork that has some fat in it)

Marinade ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
2-3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 red chillies, chopped (optiona
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
loads and loads of Kecap Manis (I’d say between 1/3-1/2 cup or maybe even more!)

Pouring Kicap Manis Over Marinade Ingredients

making marinade for indonesian satay

Basting ingredients:
1/4 cup kecap manis
1 tsp fish sauce
1 shallot, thinly sliced
juice from 1 calamansi (or 1/2 lime)
1 lemongrass pounded on the end to use as basting brush

Dipping sauce:
1 cup chunky peanut butter (or you could use ground up roasted peanuts)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup palm sugar (about 1/3 of a block), chopped
1 clove garlic
2 shallots
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp vegetable oil (peanut oil would be great!)
1 tsp fish sauce
as many bird’s eye chillies as you can handle, chopped
1/4 cup kecap manis, or more
3-4 calamansi juice or juice from 1 large lime

1. Marinate your meats in the marinade ingredients. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to tell which is chicken and which is pork, just separate into two bowls and pour marinade over both to cover.

Chicken in Indonesian Satay Marinade

chicken in indonesian satay marinade

2. Leave to marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight preferably.
3. Take marinated meat and skewer them on the bamboo skewers. Make sure to include fattier pieces with lean ones. And don’t overcrowd each skewer (that makes them harder to cook ie. more likely to burn on the grill!)

Indonesian Chicken and Pork Satay Skewers

Indonesian satay skewers

4. Once satay sticks are ready, prepare your grill. (Nate says: I used the bottom bowl and charcoal ring of my WSM, lit off some charcoal, and spread it out in an even layer.)
5. Prepare the basting ingredients and set your satay sticks on the grill. Baste with the basting sauce. (Nate says: the coals were so hot, the satay only needed to cook a few minutes per side before flipping. Next time, don’t use so much charcoal!)

Grilling Indonesian Chicken and Pork Satay

grilling Indonesian satay

6. For the dipping sauce: blend together first 9 ingredients (or if you’re like me, just pound them in a mortar) and transfer to a small pot. Set to boil and then simmer to incorporate all the flavors. Add chillies, kecap manis and calamansi or lime juice. Stir and taste. Adjust if necessary.

Once your satay meat is done, serve with the dipping sauce. Eat and repeat. Try to stop if you can.

Indonesian Chicken and Pork Satay

Indonesian Pork and Chicken Satay 2

Enjoy! Enjoy even more if you’re doing this by the beach in Hawaii 😉

Cheers, Annie

What’s *your* favorite beach food memory? Leave us a comment and share your stories!

7 thoughts on “Indonesian Chicken and Pork Satay (Sate Ayam dan Babi)”

  1. Our family’s absolute favorite dinner dish when I was growing up was “Pork Sates” (we pronounced it as one syllable, long-A), which my mom had found in some cookbook long forgotten.

    Years later we determined from a Washington Post article showcasing the cooking of the Indonesian ambassador’s wife, that our favorite dish was actually a simplified version of Indonesian Pork Satay. With a few tweaks from that article, I continued to cook it fairly often after I left home.

    Fast forward to when I met Lilian at a ballroom dancing class in Palo Alto. She’d been in the country and working @ Stanford for six months … but it turned out I was the first American she’d met who knew where Malaysia was. (Such is the sorry state of geography in U.S. schools these days; sigh.) She was impressed, but I scored really serious points when I said I knew how to cook satay and would be happy to make some for her.

    She came to my house and I made it. (She helped with the peanut sauce: “What, only one chili pepper??) While she liked it, she informed me that this was NOT Malaysian Satay. 🙂 Far too sweet and no tumeric.

    After seeing your post, I’ll have to dig out the old recipe and make it for old-times sake … now in the month between my parents’ 87ths birthdays. I know it did NOT call for kecap manis … so maybe I’ll do a side-by-side with yours and our old one.

  2. Totally awesome recipe Annie & Nate! I followed this to the letter using all chicken thigh meat and it was a huge hit. Everyone really loved the hit of lime in the peanut sauce, it really cut through the potential sweetness from the kecap manis and heaviness from the peanuts (I roasted & ground my own, no peanut butter thank you very much!). A perfect melding of flavours – thanks very much for posting the recipe!

  3. Hi we are now on Hawaii and would like to buy Kecap Manis. Is that possible over here ???? Greetings we are from the Neterlands

      1. The Asian Grocery Store on Beretania is where I got mine! 🙂

        Imagine my surprise when I read your history. I was an international student too 12 years ago… and am now residing in Honolulu with my local boy husband and 3 year old son. It would have been cool to have met you folks and hung out at Kapiolani Park or Magic Island. Thanks for the easy recipe – gonna make some for a 4th of July BBQ we were invited to. 🙂

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