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Minimal effort, maximum taste: the best packed lunch recipes

These exciting, delicious dishes are cheaper than chips… and healthier, too!
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Succulent Satay Chicken

Succulent Satay Chicken

Easy satay chicken with a spicy peanut sauce – need I say more?!

Serve with a Simple Summer Salad and some udon noodles or coconut rice.

These succulent, bite-size pieces of peanutty goodness are just a little bit irresistible! The marinade keeps them super moist and ensures the meat gets a maximum hit of those wonderful Asian flavours while it’s cooking. The dish is also really simple to make — whack it all in a blender before pouring liberally over the chicken, leave it to soak up as much as possible, cook your satay chicken ’til beautifully golden and then devour! Or, you know, desperately try not to eat it all in one sitting if you’re prepping for a week’s worth of packed lunches!

The recipe here is a sort of “sped up” version of Jamie Oliver’s original as I’ve tried a few different versions and this one wins out on the taste test versus time taken: the quicker the better for me when it comes to meal prep! The satay chicken works brilliantly for a packed lunch alongside some simple carbs (noodles or coconut rice) and a salad (I’d recommend this watermelon, radish & herb one) because it keeps really well throughout the week — gold star for the mouth-watering marinade that prevents it from drying out. But it’s also worth a try as an easy summer BBQ dish or as canapés at a party… just don’t forget the cocktail sticks to serve it with!

Prep time: 10 mins (plus 2 hours marinading) | Cook time: 20 mins | Servings: 6
Essential kit: blender/food processor

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Full Instructions

Make the marinade:

  1. Peel and roughly chop a thumb-sized piece of ginger & 2 garlic cloves and deseed 2 or 3 chillies, depending on how spicy you like it
  2. Pop this into a blender/food processor with the green parts of 6 spring onions; 20g coriander; the zest of 2 limes and the juice of 3; 4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter; 2 tablespoons soy sauce/tamari; 1 teaspoon curry powder; ½ teaspoon ground cumin; 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
  3. Blitz it all up together until smooth

Prep the chicken:

  1. Cut 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs into large chunks — 4 to 6 pieces per thigh
  2. Add all of the chicken to only half of the marinade (make sure not to contaminate the other half with raw chicken!)
  3. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours — the longer you leave it, the deeper the flavour will be, but it shouldn’t stay in for more than 24 hours

Cook the chicken:

  1. When the chicken has finished marinading, lay it all out on a grill tray or thread the pieces onto skewers and cook under a high heat
  2. Cook for around 20 minutes until golden, but turn the pieces over halfway
    *tip* when you think the chicken is done, take one of the thicker pieces out and cut it in half, if it’s opaque all the way through with no pink bits then you’re good to go
  3. When all the chicken is cooked, leave it out to cool down before transferring to a tub and putting it back in the fridge until you need it
    *alternatives* next time, try cooking it on the BBQ or baking in the oven at 180°C for 20–30 minutes to see the difference in flavour & finish

In the morning:

  1. Simply take out the desired number of chicken pieces and add them to the other elements of your lunch (I suggest thick udon noodles or coconut rice and a Simple Summer Salad), along with a good dollop of the leftover marinade

*hot option* simply pop the chicken pieces in the microwave — they should heat up nicely in only 30 seconds–1 minute, depending on the strength of the machine

Final thoughts from The Hungry Hungry Husband?

“Definitely cut the chicken into bite-size pieces or else it’s unmanageable without a knife! Also, try it with sticky coconut rice — that’s the best.”

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