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Chicken Satay Rice Bowl

by , on
Aug 30, 2015

My family could easily eat Asian cuisine 5 out of 7 days every week.  My very picky teen son invariably heaves a sigh of relief when the question, ‘What's for dinner?' is answered with ‘Thai ____' or ‘Chinese_____'.  While I have my standby recipes (Pad Thai, Kung Pao Chicken, Fried Rice), sometimes I feel the need to mix it up a bit. Such is the case when this idea came to me a couple of days ago.  Chicken Satay is nothing new to us, but I opted to eschew the skewers and instead top a bowl of chewy and nutty black rice with slices of tender, marinated chicken breasts, crisp vegetables and a thai-style cucumber salad.  I then drizzled a peanut sauce turned vinaigrette over the whole conglomeration of yumminess, aka Chicken Satay Rice Bowl.  

I came across this quote by David Thompson, author of Thai Food which is a more poetic interpretation of my take on Thai food.  To me, the attraction of Thai food lies in it's complex combination of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and hot in the dish.  

“Thai food ain’t about simplicity. It’s about the juggling of disparate elements to create a harmonious finish. Like a complex musical chord it’s got to have a smooth surface but it doesn’t matter what’s happening underneath. Simplicity isn’t the dictum here, at all. Some westerners think it’s a jumble of flavors, but to a Thai that’s important, it’s the complexity they delight in.”

I made the cucumber salad well before I made the vinaigrette, which turned out to be a fortunate happenstance because I would have made the vinaigrette spicier had the cucumber salad not been so spicy.  So, use you judgement with your spices.  If your cucumber salad is just a cool, refreshing addition, you might want to add a teaspoon (or more depending on the heat tolerance of the intended taste buds) of sriracha or other hot chili sauce/paste.  In my case, the addition of 2 jalapenos (which being red also had more capsaicin than a green) really kicked the heat of my cucumber salad up so that I really wanted a tamer dressing to balance the heat out.

Plan this meal ahead so that you can give the chicken breasts ample time to marinate.  I find the breasts quite tender and juicy from this marinade.  While any rice would be completely fine, I like using black rice for the added dimension of both color and taste.  If you haven't had black rice before, give it a whirl.  It has a distinct nutty flavor we enjoy.black rice

Chicken Satay Rice Bowl

Chicken Satay Rice Bowl

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinade Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

A rice bowl topped with slices of marinated and grilled chicken breast, cucumber salad, vegetables and a peanut sauce vinaigrette.


For Chicken Marinade

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumbs sized piece of ginger, grated

For Peanut Sauce Vinaigrette

  • 3/4 cup Coconut Milk, I use reduced fat
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, use fresh ground, not a sweetened one or one with emulsifiers
  • 1 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tsp water or more to get desired consistency
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • Additional heat as desired: Sriracha, chili paste, etc...

Spicy Cucumber Salad

  • 1 cucumber sliced into thin half-circles
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1-2 hot peppers, I used 2 jalapenos that had turned red, but use what suits you!, sliced very thin
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For Rice Bowl

  • 1 1/2 cups black rice cooked in 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup sugar or snow peas, blanched or fresh
  • 1 cup broccoli or bean sprouts
  • Dry roasted peanuts
  • Cilantro
  • Lime, cut into 4 wedges


For Chicken Marinade

  1. If using breasts, pound with meat tenderizer to thin them out for quicker grilling.
  2. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until fully combined.
  3. Pour over chicken in container for at least 2-3 hours. I marinate mine for 7 hours and they are perfection...tasty and moist!
  4. 30 minutes before you want to serve your meal, remove chicken from marinade and grill (inside or out) for 7-10 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  5. Slice thin

For Spicy Cucumber Salad

  1. Heat vinegar, salt and sugar in microwave or on stove until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Place all sliced vegetables in a glass bowl and pour vinegar over vegetables.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use. I make my salad 1 hour before eating to allow flavors to meld.

For Vinaigrette

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender
  2. Process until combined and set aside.

Assemble Satay Rice Bowl

  1. Divide Rice among 4 bowls
  2. Top with grilled chicken, vegetables and vinaigrette
  3. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro and limes.


While we cook Thai food frequently at home, we've also made it point to find a Thai restaurant in most places we visit on our travels.  If you're travelling soon, check out our list on this post. And pin this recipe if you might want to make it in the futureA recipe for chicken satay bowl, with black rice, vegetables and cucumber salad topped with a peanut vinaigrette dressing. An family favorite.


Chicken Satay Rice Bowl

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  1. Melanie

    August 31, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    This looks delicious! And I like how you added all the options.

    • lynn

      October 29, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Thanks Melanie, options are always a good thing!


  2. Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    August 31, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    What a gorgeous picture! I love what you did with this!

    • lynn

      September 1, 2015 at 6:34 am

      Thanks Julie! Hope you enjoy it.

  3. Ashley Tukiainen

    April 11, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    YUM! I love the quote. I have this fabulous book on the Thai food philosophy and it was really interesting. No wonder I love it so much 😉

    • lynn

      April 11, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks Ashley! Ah, so a fellow Thai food lover? Can’t get enough of it. Do you cook Thai at home?


  4. Becky

    May 13, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    I love the freshness of this recipe! I am new to Thai eating but I won’t be shy – – ; ) ! Your pictures make it all look so yummy! I will gather the ingredients tomorrow…thanx!

    • lynn

      May 14, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Hi Becky…I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as my family does. Wishing you a lovely weekend.
      Hugs, Lynn


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