This Southeast Asian inspired recipe for Turkey Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce is a delicious appetizer or entree to make on the grill.
Satay, you say? Yes!
Something tells me there’s a good chance you’ve been putting in a lot of time with your grill lately. I know I have. This insanely tasty recipe is the perfect way to change up the usual salt/pepper/olive oil routine. It only takes an extra 20 minutes to whip up an exotic and fragrant marinade that will take your dinner game to the next level.
It’s summer, and I’m now a brick-and-mortar business owner(!!), so I don’t exactly have the time or patience for making elaborate meals like I used to. They need to be simple and fast, but obviously, and most importantly, flavorful. They also need to be clean and on the lighter side, because we live at the beach and – real talk – I am actually quite vain. Plus, ice cream at night is mandatory in the summer, so, you know, dinner needs to help balance that out.
I tend to look and feel my best when I stick to a diet of mostly vegetables and protein (and, okay, probably not ice cream, but again, BALANCE). The only problem with sticking to protein and veggies, however, is that it can get really boring really fast.
This recipe for turkey satay with spicy peanut sauce adds some variety and sass to an otherwise bland routine. Satay, if you aren’t familiar, is a Southeast Asian rendition of spiced, grilled meat-on-a-stick popular throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Traditionally, satay is made with chicken, beef, pork, or seafood, but I’m pulling a little switcheroo by using the old American stand-by know as turkey.
For this recipe I like to slice up boneless skinless turkey breast nice and thin in order to allow the flavors to really permeate. The marinade is made up of bold, aromatic ingredients like lemongrass, ginger, garlic, cumin, and turmeric. It’s seasoned with salty, pungent fish sauce and mellowed out with creamy coconut milk. It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but all you have to do is whiz them up in a food processor and add them to a zip-top bag. You can even double the marinade and freeze it to use at a later date. Don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you – it’s actually pretty simple.
After a few hours in the fridge, the turkey gets skewered and flashed on the grill until nicely charred and totally cooked through. No medium rare meat when it comes to poultry – a reminder you probably don’t need, but it never hurts to reinforce. These turkey satay skewers get served up with a spicy peanut sauce for dipping that can be customized to suit your taste. In our house we like it obnoxiously spicy, but you can easily dial it back for a milder profile.
This turkey satay makes a killer appetizer, but we like it enough to have for dinner. Round out the dish with this simple Thai cucumber salad, and you’re in for a knock-out meal that’s jam-packed with flavor, but not calories. It’s summertime perfection!
One Year Ago: Clams with Tomatoes, Basil + Blue Cheese; Grilled Lamb Chops with Eggplant Puree, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Crispy Chick Peas; Steamed Maryland Blue Claw Crabs
Two Years Ago: Kale + Quinoa Cakes; Clams with Chorizo, Grilled Corn + Cilantro; Grilled Peas in the Pod; Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps; Cold Brew Coffee
Serves 4-6 as an entree or 8-10 as an appetizer
For the turkey
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 4-inch pieces lemongrass, tough outer layer removed, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno, halved, seeds removed for less heat
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 lbs boneless skinless turkey breast
- skewers (if using wooden skewers be sure to soak in warm water for at least 30 minutes prior to using.)
For the Spicy Peanut Sauce
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- 1–4 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, adjust to taste
- 1–2 tablespoons warm water, as needed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and brown sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the vegetables start breaking up, then process on high for 1-2 minutes until finely chopped. Add coconut milk, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fish sauce, and salt, then continue processing until it forms a smooth paste.
- Slice the turkey into thin strips, then add to a plastic zip-top bag along with the paste. Seal the bag, then use your hands to squish the turkey around to mix together and fully coat with all the ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Make the spicy peanut sauce by whisking together the peanut butter, sriracha, water, soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to your taste, then set aside. Sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Skewer the turkey pieces by weaving them over and under, like an accordion, making sure they’re nice and compact. Grill until charred on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Turn and continue grilling on the other side until the turkey is totally cooked through.
- Remove from the grill and serve with spicy peanut sauce on the side.
Keywords: thai, chicken, turkey, satay, poultry, grilled, easy, dinner, appetizer