Chicken satay fans, meet your new favourite curry recipe! You're sure to love this peanut butter chicken curry made with tender chicken pieces in a rich, sweet, spicy and tangy peanut sauce.
If you're concerned that all this homemade deliciousness equates to a time-consuming recipe, rest assured that we're keeping things simple. This recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients and is ready in 30 minutes.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
5 reasons why you'll love this recipe:
- A tasty chicken curry packed with delicious peanut satay flavour that's guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
- 30-minute meal - this quick and easy recipe is weeknight-friendly.
- No Asian grocery store required - made with easy-to-find ingredients that are available in your local store.
- Versatile - swap out the chicken for pork or shrimp/prawns or add tofu or more veggies for a vegetarian/vegan option. It's a great way to use up leftover veggies that are lingering in your fridge.
- Make-ahead and freezer friendly - store the cooked curry in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
🛒 Key ingredients
This tasty satay curry is made with everyday ingredients that should all be available at your local store.
- Chicken: I recommend chicken thighs because they are more tender and flavourful than chicken breast. The chicken pieces are combined with curry powder, chilli powder and salt to make them extra tasty.
- Red peppers: Add vibrant colours, crunchy texture, and mild sweetness.
- Chillies: I always opt for bird's eye chillies. They add a fruity freshness as well as heat. If you have a low tolerance for spice, feel free to reduce the amount or omit them
- Dark soy sauce: Has a richer flavour than light soy sauce and will also deepen the colour of the curry sauce.
- Coconut milk: Full fat and light/low fat versions both work well.
- Peanut butter: Opt for smooth instead of crunchy and try to choose one that has no added salt.
Note that the recipe has not been tested with all the substitutions and variations below, so the results cannot be guaranteed.
- Chicken: You can use breast instead of thighs if you are looking for a leaner option. You can also use pork or shrimp instead or make a meat-free version of this curry with tofu and or veggies.
- Red peppers: Switch for other veggies like green beans, zucchini/courgette or broccoli.
- Bird's eye chillies: You can also use standard long-red chillies that are more commonly found in supermarkets.
- Dark soy sauce: The recipe has not been tested with light soy sauce, but you can use it if you need to. Light soy sauce is lower in sodium and is not as sweet as dark soy sauce so you may want to add a little more and add a small amount of extra sugar to compensate.
- Coconut milk: substitute with cashew cream, almond or soy milk.
- Prawn/shrimp satay curry: Swap the chicken for raw or cooked king prawns/shrimp.
- Pork curry: Made with pork loin or shoulder instead of chicken.
- Vegetarian/vegan option: Use crispy tofu or increase the amount of veg in the curry and add some toasted peanuts for additional protein.
🧑🍳 Recipe steps
Step 1: Mix bite-size chicken thigh pieces with curry powder, chilli powder and salt.
Step 2: Place a wok or medium to large frying pan over a medium to high heat and add oil. Add the seasoned chicken when the oil is hot and cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly to ensure all sides are browned. Remove from the pan and set aside when done.
Step 3: Fry the garlic and chilli for a minute until fragrant, adding a little more oil if you need to.
Step 4: Reduce the heat to medium/low and add the dark soy sauce, peanut butter and a small amount of coconut milk. Stir to form a paste. Add the rest of the coconut milk gradually while stirring continuously to get the lumps out. Add the red pepper, kaffir lime leaves, and sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 5: Add the cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes more over a medium heat. Stir in the lime zest and juice and serve over rice topped with fresh cilantro/coriander.
🍽️ Serving suggestions
Jasmine or basmati rice go nicely, or opt for brown or cauliflower rice for a healthier alternative. You can also serve with flatbread, naan or noodles.
- Brown the chicken pieces first. This seals them and makes them more flavourful. Note that the chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point. It will be simmered in the curry sauce too.
- Add the coconut milk gradually and stir continuously. To get rid of any lumps of peanut butter.
- Check the doneness of the chicken. Simmering the chicken in the curry sauce for 5 minutes should give it enough time to cook through if it wasn't fully cooked in the browning process. I highly recommend taking out one of the larger pieces and cutting it in half to ensure it is no longer pink.
- Add the lime juice at the end. To bring bright, fresh and zesty flavour that cuts through the richness of the peanut sauce. Adding lime juice and zest too early will mellow their flavour as the sauce simmers.
While it isn't strictly necessary to fry chicken before adding it to a curry it does enhance the flavour and the texture if you brown it over a medium to high heat first.
Satay sauce is a spicy peanut sauce that commonly contains lime juice, ginger and chilli. It originated in Indonesia, although many people associate it with Thai cuisine.
Overcooking the chicken can lead to a tougher texture. Ensure you remove the chicken from the pan as soon as it is brown and simmer in the sauce until just done to ensure it stays succulent. Using lean chicken cuts without enough fat or connective tissue can also result in dry and chewy chicken. This is why chicken thigh meat is recommended instead of breast.
The cooked curry can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated on the stove or in the microwave. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Just portion it into containers or freezer bags and place in the freezer once cool. Remove from the freezer 24 hours before you plan to eat it and defrost it slowly in the fridge before reheating.
Chicken satay is a popular Southeast Asian dish made of marinated and skewered pieces of chicken that are grilled or barbecued and served with a peanut sauce for dipping. It is believed to have originated in Indonesia, where it is considered a national dish, and it has since become popular throughout Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore.
😋 Check out my other easy curry recipes
Curries are warming, delicious and nutritious. They also create tasty leftovers and freeze well. If you enjoyed this recipe, you'll love these other easy curry recipes too.
Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.
Don't forget to tag #knifeandsoulrecipes on Instagram or @knifeandsoul on Pinterest!
Chicken Satay Curry
- 1 tbsp curry powder (Note 1)
- 1 tsp chilli powder (Note 2)
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp neutral oil (Note 3)
- 750 g (26 oz) boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces (Note 4)
- 3 birds eye chillies finely chopped (Note 5)
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (Note 6)
- 400 g (14 fl oz) coconut milk (Note 7)
- 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter (Note 8)
- 2 tsp brown sugar (Note 9)
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 large red bell peppers chopped into bite-sized pieces (Note 10)
- 1 lime zest
- 2 limes juice
- A large handful of chopped fresh cilantro/coriander.
- Mix the chicken pieces with curry powder, chilli powder and salt.
- Place a wok or medium/large pan on a medium to high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken pieces when the oil is hot and fry for a few minutes until they are brown on all sides and set aside. (Note 11)
- Fry the chilli and garlic for a few minutes until fragrant, adding a little more oil if necessary.
- Add the peanut butter and dark soy sauce then stir in a little of the coconut milk to form a smooth paste.
- Gradually pour in the rest of the coconut milk while stirring continuously to remove any lumps. Then add the sugar, kaffir lime leaves and red pepper and simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes. (Note 12)
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime zest and juice and serve immediately with chopped fresh cilantro/coriander.
- Curry powder: The recipe has been tested with medium, but feel free to use mild or hot.
- Chilli powder: As above.
- Neutral oil: Use an oil with a high burn point like groundnut or canola oil. Olive oil is not suitable.
- Chicken thighs: I recommend chicken thighs because they are more tender and flavourful than chicken breast. You can use breast instead if you are looking for a leaner option.
- Bird's eye chillies: Add a fruity freshness as well as heat. If you have a low tolerance for spice, feel free to reduce the amount or omit them.
- Coconut milk: Full-fat and light/low-fat versions both work well.
- Peanut butter: Opt for smooth instead of crunchy and try to choose one that has no added salt.
- Brown sugar: Substitute with white sugar, honey or maple syrup.
- Red peppers: Feel free to use other veggies like green beans, zucchini/courgette or broccoli.
- Browning the chicken: The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point just browned.
- Checking the doneness of the chicken: If the chicken was not fully cooked during the browning process, simmering it in the curry sauce should finish it off. Remove one of the larger pieces and cut it in half to check it is no longer pink.