My Island Home: Minced Chicken Satay

Posted: 11 January 2017 Category: Blog

30chicken_skewersAn accomplished cookbook author and restaurateur, UFF Founder & Director Janet DeNeefe has enjoyed a love affair with Indonesian food spanning more than 30 years. In this series, we share recipes from her celebrated cookbook, Bali: The Food of My Island Home. First published in 2011, the book has been reprinted by popular demand and will be available to purchase at the UFF17. Dig in! 

“This satay of minced meat and grated coconut appears at just about every serious Balinese ceremony. Making sacred foods such as this is one part of suka-duka, which can be described as community participation, shared duties, and supporting friends, family and neighbours in good times and bad. So traditionally, this satay is prepared by the men and all the ingredients are chopped with a large cleaver, from the spices to the meat. The skewers are served with lawar. You can use packaged frozen grated coconut as a convenient substitute for fresh coconut, and instead of chicken you can experiment with just about any other meat.” – Janet DeNeefe.


  • ½ cup fresh (or frozen) finely grated coconut
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk, plus extra for basting if desired
  • 4 tablespoons Base Genep
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, rolled into a bundle and finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons fried shallots
  • slice of shrimp paste equivalent to ½ teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 300g minced chicken
  • uncoated bamboo chopsticks soaked in water for 1 hour, or thin lemongrass stalks


Mix the grated coconut and coconut milk in a large bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Add the base genep, palm sugar, lime leaves, fried shallots, shrimp paste and salt and mix thoroughly. Add the chicken and knead it in with your hand. The mixture should become fragrant, deep yellow in colour, and slightly sticky. Wet your fingers, take a tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a ball. Push the meat onto the fat end of a chopstick (or lemongrass stalk) and spiral it firmly around the stick until it reaches halfway. The meat should be fatter at the top, tapering down. Repeat with the remaining meat and sticks. Grill the chicken skewers over medium heat until golden brown, turning them as they cook. If desired, you can baste them with coconut milk while they cook to keep them moist.

Makes 15 skewers.