This creamy satay chicken stir fry recipe with Udon noodles ticks a whole lot of boxes!
Short on time? It takes no longer than 20 minutes to make, prep included. Looking to get some veg into the veg-haters at dinner? This will change their minds. Looking for the greatest flavour punch without the effort? We've got you.
This recipe provides a winning sweet and savoury combo with the added depth of peanut satay sauce. It's a superstar in our household and we especially love the bit of chew you get from the thick Udon noodles.
So what's so great about this recipe apart from it being genuinely delicious? We'll be cheating a little bit! We will show you how to make the quickest, simplest satay sauce with just three basic ingredients.
It's a game changer when it comes to quick and effortless weeknight meals.
For more comfort food recipes, try this easy South African bobotie, aromatic beef curry with coconut milk and butter rice or the best devilled sausages.
- What's to love about this recipe
- Key ingredient notes and substitutions
- How to make satay chicken stir fry - Quick summary
- Tips for Success
- Serving suggestions
- Other dishes that go with satay chicken stir fry
- Storage and reheating
- How to make this stir fry gluten-free
- How to make this vegetarian
- More Asian inspired recipes you might enjoy
What's to love about this recipe
- No need for a complicated satay sauce! With just three ingredients, you'll be in peanut satay chicken heaven in no time.
- Takes no more than 20 minutes to make from start to finish, perfect for an easy dinner during a busy week.
- Popular with kids.
- Easy way to get a whole heap of veggies in.
- Feel free to customise the recipe by adding more of your favourite vegetables or substituting them with what you have available at home. Get creative and make this chicken satay stir fry your own.
Key ingredient notes and substitutions
Use either crunchy or smooth peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter provides a bit of extra texture.
Thai sweet chilli sauce
Take note, you need Thai sweet chilli sauce and not sweet and sour cooking sauce from a jar (which is a weaker sauce, sometimes containing pineapple pieces).
Sweet chilli sauce is quite sweet and tangy and with a very subtle spicy kick. It's not a hot sauce. The sauce typically has a smooth and syrupy consistency.
A UK brand to look out for is Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce, or Aldi's Asia Specialities Sweet Chilli Sauce. In South Africa, you can find Wellington's Sweet Chilli Sauce or Woolworth's Sweet Chilli Sauce.
Disclaimer: Using the right sauce is really important because it can make a big difference in how your recipe turns out. If you use the wrong sauce, it can change the entire flavour, texture and consistency of the dish.
For the best results, it's recommended to use light soy sauce as your first choice.
However, if you don't have light soy sauce on hand, you can substitute it with dark soy sauce. Just keep in mind that using dark soy sauce may result in a slightly richer and darker sauce. However, this may actually be your preferred choice!
Quick-cook udon noodles
Also called 'straight-to-wok' noodles. These Udon noodles are pre-cooked and are usually vacuum-packed.
We use Amoy udon noodles.
If you're unable to find Udon noodles, don't worry! You can easily substitute them with any other type of noodles that you prefer, or have on hand.
You can also enjoy this satay stir fry on a bed of white rice, wholegrain brown rice or cauliflower rice.
Skinless boneless chicken breast
You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Feel free to use any oil of your preference for frying, such as vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil or any other suitable oil you have available.
In this recipe, we used red bell pepper, spring onions (green onions), and mange tout (snow peas).
However, feel free to substitute these stir fry vegetables with your own favourites or whatever you have in your fridge.
Some suggestions could include julienned carrots, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts and onion.
Get creative and use the vegetables that you enjoy or have on hand. It's all about customising the recipe to your taste and using what you have available.
Fresh ginger, garlic and sesame oil.
How to make satay chicken stir fry - Quick summary
- Cut the chicken into strips, slice or dice the red bell pepper, half the mange tout lengthways and cut the spring onions into rings.
- To make the sauce, whisk together the peanut butter, Thai sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.
- Remove the Udon noodles from the packaging and place them in a bowl with boiling water. Leave to separate and soften.
- In a large non-stick frying pan or wok, fry the pieces of chicken over medium-high heat until done. Remove from pan.
- Fry the garlic, ginger and vegetables for about 2-3 minutes until done, but still crisp and firm.
- Drain the noodles from the bowl.
- Reduce the heat, add the chicken to the vegetables and then add three-quarters of the creamy peanut sauce. Stir together until heated through.
- Tip in the noodles along with the sesame oil and toss together. Briefly fry until heated through. Kitchen tongs work well for this step.
- Add the remainder of the satay sauce to your liking.
The amount of sauce you add to your stir fry can vary depending on the quantity of meat and vegetables you've included. If you used smaller-sized vegetables and chicken breasts, you might need less sauce. It's important to adjust the amount according to your personal preference.
- Spoon into bowls and top with more chopped spring onion and crushed peanuts.
Tips for Success
Soak the noodles
Pre-cooked Udon noodles are also known as straight-to-wok noodles because you can add them directly to the pan.
However, we personally prefer a different approach. We like to place the noodles in a bowl of boiling water at the beginning of the cooking process. This step helps to separate the strands of noodles, making it easier to mix them with the rest of the stir-fry later on.
It's a simple trick that ensures the noodles are ready to be combined with the other ingredients.
Don't overload the pan
When frying the veg, try to not overload your pan, otherwise, you will be steaming the food instead of frying it.
If you have a small pan, or if you're doubling the recipe, it's best to fry in batches. This means cooking a single layer of either meat or vegetables in the pan at a time.
Make sure the pan is hot
Another important tip is to ensure that your pan and oil are adequately heated before adding anything for frying.
Fry the hardest vegetables first
In this recipe, you can fry the red bell peppers, mange tout and spring onions together.
However, if you use different vegetables, start by frying the hardest ones, like broccoli, first. This ensures that all the vegetables cook evenly and have the right texture.
- Save some of the green ends from the spring onions. Chop and scatter over the stir fry before serving.
- Add some red pepper flakes.
- Sprinkle over chopped peanuts.
- Add chilli crisp.
- Add a squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice for freshness.
- Add bean sprouts.
- Sprinkle over sesame seeds.
- You can also swap the Udon noodles for Jasmine rice.
Other dishes that go with satay chicken stir fry
- Cucumber salad.
- Prawn crackers.
- Mango chilli salad.
- Asian slaw.
- Potstickers with gyoza sauce.
- Vegetable spring rolls.
- Kale chips.
Storage and reheating
Leftovers from the chicken satay stir-fry can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When reheating, you can either use the microwave or transfer it back to a hot pan with a splash of water. Make sure to heat it until it's piping hot throughout.
If you have extra stir fry that you'd like to freeze, you can do so for up to three months. To defrost, simply take it out of the freezer a few hours before you plan to consume it. Follow the same reheating instructions mentioned earlier.
Keep in mind that the vegetables might not be as crispy as when the stir fry was freshly made. Since you're essentially 'cooking it twice', the vegetables will be softer.
How to make this stir fry gluten-free
To make this stir fry gluten-free, you can replace the noodles with rice. Cook the rice separately and then either add it to the stir fry as you would have done with the noodles or serve the stir fry on top of the rice.
However, we would recommend adding the rice to the stir fry in the pan. It allows the rich, creamy sauce to flavour the rice too - it's delicious!
How to make this vegetarian
To make this recipe vegetarian, you have a couple of options.
First, you can omit the chicken entirely and focus on the vegetables for a delicious vegetarian stir fry.
Alternatively, you can include fried firm tofu as a protein substitute.
1. Fry your meat first.
2. Start with the hardest vegetables first and add the softer, smaller diced veg once the harder veggies have been partially cooked.
3. Add any precooked noodles last.
You can add it at the same time you start frying the vegetables.
More Asian inspired recipes you might enjoy
Satay chicken stir fry with Udon noodles
For the sauce
- 4 tablespoons peanut butter - crunchy or smooth
- 4 tablespoons Thai sweet chilli sauce - **please see blog post on which sauce to use
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce - or dark soy sauce for a richer, darker sauce.
For the stir fry
- 300 gram quick-cook Udon noodles
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts - or thighs
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 spring onions
- 100 gram mange tout
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Slice the two chicken breasts into strips.
- Deseed and slice the two red bell peppers into small cubes.
- Slice the three spring onions into small rings, including the white bulb section, the light green section, and some of the darker green tops.
- Half the mange tout lengthways.
For the sauce
- In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.
For the Udon noodles
- Remove the noodles from the packaging, place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soften.
For the chicken
- Heat the teaspoon of oil in a pan, or wok, over medium-high heat. Add the raw chicken strips to the hot pan.
- Add salt to taste.
- Fry the chicken until golden on all sides and cooked through. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. Set aside. Keep the pan on the heat at the same temperature.
For the vegetables
- Add the tablespoon of garlic and teaspoon of ginger to the pan, followed by the chopped red pepper, mange tout and spring onions.
- Briefly fry the vegetables for around 2-3 minutes.
Bringing it all together
- Drain the udon noodles from the water.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the cooked chicken back into the pan together with the vegetables.
- Add roughly three quarters of the satay sauce.Stir everything together until the sauce has heated through.
- Add the Udon noodles to the pan together with the tablespoon of sesame oil.
- Add the remainder of the satay sauce to your liking. The amount of sauce you add to your stir fry can vary depending on the quantity of meat and vegetables you've included. If you used smaller vegetables and chicken breasts, you might need less sauce. It's important to adjust the amount according to your personal preference.
- Gently stir everything together until the Udon noodles are heated through. Kitchen tongs work well for tossing all the ingredients together.
- Dish into bowls and garnish with more chopped spring onion and a scattering of peanuts.
**Nutritional data disclaimer**
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is calculated by a third party and we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We try our best to give you the most accurate information, but we do not take responsibility for errors that may be present. Also, the nutritional value of the recipe may change depending on the exact brands and products used. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalised advice on your dietary needs.