The CHINESE takeout version of chicken satay! This Chinese Satay Chicken Stir Fry is quite different to Malaysian and Thai satay, but just as delicious. This is a made from scratch chicken satay recipe, and there is every possibility you already have everything you need to make this. The simplicity of the spices required will surprise you!
“Is not real Chinese!”, my local Chinese takeout guy said almost disapprovingly as I ordered Satay Chicken Stir Fry yet again.
“I know, but it’s so good!” I declared.
Then I hesitated. For years, I’ve been trying to extract restaurant secrets from my local Chinese restaurant. Each time I go, I weave a question innocently into the conversation, trying to pick up one more tip. Ask too many, or be too obvious, and they clam up and shake their heads. “No, no, no”, he’d say, shaking his head.
So I paused, trying to think of a clever way to extract the secret of his Satay Sauce from him.
“Err….How do you make your Satay Sauce?” I asked. Full marks for word smithing. I should have been a detective – brilliant, crafty questioning skills.
But to my surprise, he actually answered.
“We use Jimmy’s. But we change it!”, he said almost defensively, daring me to judge him for using a bottled sauce. “We add things. We make better!”
“Oh! I know Jimmy’s! What do you add?” I asked.
“No, no, no”, he said, clamming up.
Bugger. I went too far.
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.
As my local Chinese takeout owner says, there is actually no such thing as satay in Chinese cuisine. But over the years the popularity of satay generally has evolved such that almost every neighbourhood Chinese restaurant here in Australia has x, y and z in Satay Sauce on the menu.
The brand of Satay Sauce that my Chinese restaurant refers to as using as their sauce base is called Jimmy’s Sate Sauce. It’s sold in some Asian shops and even at some fresh produce stores, like Harris Farms (not at all stores). A Chinese friend of mine told me that it’s quite widely used in restaurants, but always with other ingredients added.
However, because even I sometimes struggle to find Jimmy’s Sate Sauce, I decided to create a Chinese Satay Chicken Stir Fry made from scratch. It’s a homemade copycat and I’m the first to admit it’s not exactly the same. But it’s similar, and most importantly, it is a darn tasty satay sauce that’s easy to make with ingredients you’ll find at most supermarkets. Oh – and you know exactly what goes into it!
This is a simple recipe that’s easy enough for midweek. No grinding peanuts, not even chopping up lemongrass (I use lemongrass paste, it works better for this recipe). In my more “serious” Chicken Satay Curry recipe, I insist on using both peanuts and fresh lemongrass. It has more steps and uses more equipment than this recipe and it is definitely worth the effort.
But in my world, stir fries should be fast and easy to make. So I made this Chinese Satay Chicken Stir Fry straight forward. And if I do say so myself, it’s darn tasty! – Nagi x
- 8 oz / 250g chicken breast
- 1 tsp baking soda (bi carb soda) (optional)
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder (Not US Chilli powder! See Note 1)
- 1 1/2 tsp Curry Powder (Note 2)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp light soy sauce (Note 3)
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp Sriracha (or other hot sauce)
- 1/2 tsp lemongrass paste (Note 4)
- 1/3 cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp peanut oil (or other plain oil)
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- Shallots/scallions , sliced (optional garnish)
Cut chicken in half length wise then slice thinly. Place in a bowl with baking soda, use fingers to coat. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Rinse well, pat dry with paper towel then place in a bowl.
Mix together Seasoning.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of Seasoning over chicken. Mix to coat then set aside for 10 minutes (not critical, can skip this).
Place all ingredients except water in a bowl. Add remaining Seasoning. Mix, then add water and mix.
Heat oil in wok or skillet over high heat. Add onion and garlic, stir fry for 1 minute.
Add chicken and stir fry for 2 minutes until just cooked through and a bit browned.
Lower heat slightly, then add Sauce. Stir fry until it reduce down and becomes thicker - 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Serve immediately with rice, garnished with sliced shallots/scallions if desired.
1. If you are in the US, do not use what you know as Chili Powder! That is a spice blend, not pure ground chilies. If you can't find pure ground chili, substitute with cayenne pepper.
2. Any is fine, I use Clive of India, Keens and packets of ground spice labelled simply as "Curry Powder".
3. All purpose / normal soy sauce can also be used. I don't recommend dark soy sauce as the flavour is too intense.
4. I like using Lemongrass Paste instead of fresh lemongrass because it can be stirred straight into the sauce. Fresh lemongrass is tougher and needs to be very finely chopped and be sautéed then incorporated into the sauce. This is a quick recipe so I use paste instead because it's easier!
Here in Australia, I purchased lemongrass paste in tubes in the fresh produce section of supermarkets. Lemongrass in a jar will also work just fine.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 2 servings (exc. rice).
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Chinese Satay Chicken Stir Fry recipe video!
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