Chicken Sugarcane Skewers Sous Vide with Peanut Sauce

Whether they are called satay in Indonesia, satti in the Southern Philippines, yakitori in Japan, shish kebab in Turkey and the Middle East, shashlik in the Caucasus, chuanr in China, sosatie in South Africa or even corndogs right here in the ole U.S. of A, they will always be “meat-ona-stick” to me.

Todays’ recipe for “chicken-ona-stick” is based on Indonesian satay and cooked sous vide in a heady marinade of lemon grass, ginger, garlic with assorted spices including turmeric which gives the dish its characteristic yellow color.

Chicken with Peanut Sauce

The sugarcane skewers are not just for holding the meat together, no, these skewers lead a double life. In addition to their stick-ly duties they also flavor the chicken with the sweet fragrance of sugarcane. I happened across fresh stalks of sugarcane in my local Asian grocery while I was working on this recipe and got inspired. If you’re not able to procure fresh sugarcane feel free to use standard bamboo skewers, it will definitely get the job done in “stick” department but that sweetness and total culinary cool factor will be sorely lacking.
As the chicken is perfectly cooked thanks to a few hours in the warming waters of the SV1 it’s also flavored with the vibrant marinade it’s vacuum packed with. In addition, it’s also seasoned from the inside out thanks to the fresh sugarcane skewers. All that’s needed is a quick char on a very hot grill to complete the dish. I took the liberty of stoking up one of my Kalamazoo Hybrid grills loaded with hardwoods for the chicken but any hot grill will do the trick. That being said you can easily finish these indoors under a hot broiler or on the range in a nice hot cast iron grill pan.

Chicken Sugarcane Skewer Ingredients

The peanut dipping sauce has all of the basic ingredients found in the marinade save the natural peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice and jalapeños. I chose to use a freshly “ground to order” natural peanut butter from my local market but any high quality “natural” product will do fine. They only ingredients in a true “natural” peanut butter is peanuts and a dash of optional salt, anything else is well, wrong. The richness of the peanuts combined with the sweet, salty and spicy additions make this peanut sauce truly irresistible I found myself eating it with a spoon after all of the skewers were gone!

Although the ingredient list seems daunting compared to most western styled recipes don’t be put off, this marinade and sauce offers a rich and complex flavor that your customers or family will truly love. 


For the sugarcane skewers:

• 1 medium sugarcane stalk, fresh

For the marinade:

• 3 large lemongrass stalks, outer layer and root end removed, stalk cut into 2-inch lengths

• 2 large shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped

• 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

• 1/3 cup brown sugar

• 2 tablespoons ground coriander

• 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

• 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste

• 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus more for grilling

• 4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces 

For the peanut sauce:

• 1/4 cup sunflower oil

• 4 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered

• 1 lemongrass stalk, outer layer removed, stalk cut into 2-inch lengths

• 1 whole jalapeño, stemmed and quartered

• 1 tablespoon ginger, fresh, skinned and coarsely chopped

• 1 1/2 cups peanut butter, natural

• 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened, or as needed

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

• 3 tablespoons lime juice, fresh

• 2 tablespoons fish sauce. high quality

• 1 tablespoon soy sauce

• red pepper flakes 

chicken with peanut sauce

Chicken skewers with peanut sauce

chicken with peanut sauce photo


1. Preheat the VacMaster SV1 to 60°C/140°F

For the sugarcane skewers:

1. Wash the sugarcane stalk thoroughly.

2. Using a sharp chef's knife, carefully cut the stalk crosswise, at a joint, into sections to the length of the skewer needed.

3. Split the sections lengthwise into quarters and carefully cut the quarters into multiple skewers about 1/4 of an inch thick.

4. Don't remove the outer bark on the skewers that still has it still attached as it helps to reinforce the skewer.

5. Using the chef’s knife cut one end of the skewers into points and reserve.

For the marinade:

6. Using a high speed blender or food processor, combine the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, turmeric, fish sauce, salt and sunflower oil in the units work bowl and process the mixture to a thick paste.

7. Transfer the marinade to a suitable sized bowl and add the chicken, gently tossing to coat each piece thoroughly.

8. On a flat work surface thread, the coated chicken pieces onto the sugarcane skewers.

9. Using the VacMaster Bag Stand and appropriate sized VacMaster bag(s) load with a suitable amount of the skewers and using a VacMaster Chamber machine vacuum seal the bags.

10. Repeat as necessary with remaining finished skewers.

11. Place the bag(s) in the SV1 and cook for 1 and up to 2 hours.

For the peanut sauce:

1. In a medium sized heavy bottomed non-reactive saucepan heat the sunflower oil to shimmering.

2. Add the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, jalapeño and ginger.

3. Cook quickly over moderate heat, stirring, until the aromatics are softened and browned, about 10 minutes or so.

4. Scrape the mixture into the work bowl of a high speed blender or food processor.

5. Add all of the remaining ingredients along with 1/2 cup of water and process until a smooth paste forms.

6. Scrape the peanut paste back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the peanut puree toasts somewhat developing a dark and roasted flavor and very thick and the fat separates, about 15-20 minutes.

7. Whisk in 1/2 cup of hot water until incorporated and the sauce is smooth and homogeneous

8. Keep the peanut sauce warm over very low heat, reserve.

For cooking and serving the skewers:

1. According to your manufactures directions light a gas or hard wood grill to high heat

2. Grill the chicken skewers on well-oiled grill grates over high heat, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and heated through, 4-5 minutes.

3. Serve immediately with the reserved warmed peanut sauce if the sauce is too thick add a few tablespoons of hot water or more coconut milk to thin to your liking.

peanut sauce pic

peanut sauce photo

Chicken skewers with peanut sauce pic