Chicken satay is probably the Malaysian food we know best. One of Auckland's best Malaysian chefs shares his recipe.

The irresistible smells of satay cooking over charcoal grills wafts over Malaysia and draw you into the hawkers markets and food stalls for a taste of something truly tantalising.

While there are many poor imitations. Authentic Malaysian stay is sublime. It's characteristic yellow colour comes from turmeric while lemongrass, cumin and chilli give the dish a kick. The charcoal grill does the rest.

Jacky Lam, owner/chef of Auckland's KK Malaysian, says his favourite satay stall is in Malacca, and he visits every time he returns home.

The same man has run a stall for more than 20 years - just selling satay. His first stall was outside a cinema, consisting of just a big pot for the sauce, a load of different meats to satay and a charcoal bbq. Every time a film finished there'd be queues for satay stretching around the block.

Aucklanders can get a taste of satay and other flavours of Malaysia at the Auckland International Cultural Festival on next Sunday, March 27 at Mt Roskill War Memorial Park with representation from more than 45 different cultures. The Malaysia Kitchen Pavilion features four of Auckland's top Malaysian restaurants cooking a feast of traditional dishes - including KK's satay as well as char kuey teow, rendang and roti. For details visit aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/events or malaysiakitchen.co.nz
Jacky Lim's chicken satay

500g chicken meat

For the satay marinade:
6 cloves of garlic
3 stalks of lemongrass
10 shallots
100g galangal
50g ginger
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp soya oil
Salt and pepper to season

1 Blend the garlic, lemongrass, shallots, galangal and ginger into a paste and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients then mix with the paste.

2 Take chicken meat (leg or thigh) and cut into 2cm pieces. Mix with the marinade and leave for a few hours, or overnight for the best results.

3 Thread the meat on to bamboo skewers and cook over grill or on the barbecue until cooked through. Garnish satay skewers with peanut sauce (below) for dipping.

For satay peanut sauce:
3 peeled onions
3 candlenuts (candlenut is used to thicken Malaysian dishes and can be found in speciality food stores)
2 stalks of lemon grass
6 cloves of garlic
200g ginger
200g pineapple, blended into a smooth paste
120ml oil for cooking
5 tbsp chilli paste
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
6 tbsp coconut cream
3 tbsp peanut butter

1 Blend the onion, candlenut, lemongrass, garlic and ginger into a smooth paste and set aside. Heat wok or pan and add oil for cooking. Add the chilli paste and cook until it has changed to a bright-red glossy colour. Add the first blended paste mix and continue to cook until you can smell the aroma. Lower to a medium heat and add the curry and turmeric powders.

2 Stir slowly until oil floats on the top. Add coconut cream and peanut butter and stir again until oil floats on the top. Be careful once you've added the peanut butter as the mixture can burn quickly if not stirred well.

3 Finally add the pineapple paste and bring to boil, then add sugar and seasoning to taste.

Jacky's tips:
Every satay is unique. The taste is very personal so don't be afraid to try different ingredients to make it your own special recipe.