Mahayana is not a single tradition. It is a variety of forms the live teaching has taken as it was internalized by people belonging to different cultures and lifestyles over ~2600 years of the realization-transmission cycle.
The same direct experience (of Enlightenment) is introduced in different ways. Everyone agrees it is about seeing (aka insight) and cultivation (aka liberation), but how exactly the two are approached varies wildly.
The method of vipassana (insight meditation) is radical attention to present moment, with experiences interpreted in context of Buddhist teachings. We could say vipassana relies on three activities: the study undertaken before meditation, the active-watching during meditation, and the review in post-meditation. That's it, there is nothing magical about vipassana. It's all about what you study, and what you pay attention to, and how you connect the two.
Before you can do active watching, you have to tame your mind and make it into an instrument of insight. The same taming also serves as a pre-realization part of liberation-cultivation (remember, it's not just insight, there is also liberation). This preliminary meditation is known as samatha, but it really is not that different from vipassana. The only real difference is in the level of skill, familiarity, and insight. This is like with learning to play guitar: first you do scale exercises, then you play whole pieces, then you improvise. In all cases you are playing the instrument, the difference is in your sensitivity and control. Samatha is mostly about tranquility, vipassana is mostly about insight -- but there is no one without the other.
Not all schools of Mahayana differentiate between samatha and vipassana. Most Zen schools (I believe) teach one meditation, zazen (did you know "zen" is the same word as "jhana"?). This is like giving student a guitar and saying: here, learn to play this. No scale exercises, no sheet music. This is accompanied with plenty of very deep oral instructions on what a good music sounds like, but no specific mechanical exercises. I'm simplifying to make a point. Most teachers do provide some guidelines (e.g. basics of anapanasati; common mistakes etc.), but the emphasis is definitely on self-learning.
While in Theravada the pendulum seems to swing almost too far the other way: "Teacher, but when are we going to play music?" -- "Forget about music, dummy, and focus on your study and exercises, that's where music comes from!"
In Tibetan schools practice and study seems to be pretty balanced. They do differentiate between shamatha and vipashyana at beginner stages and speak about "unity of shamatha and vipashyana" at more advanced stages. As far as specific techniques, at least in some schools (Gelug) Tibetan vipashyana takes analysis of the four jhanas as its object of investigation. Four jhanas are also approached in context of Generation Stage meditation, while what you know as satipatthana in Theravada can probably be compared with Completion stage meditation in Vajrayana... And then there are Mahamudra and Dzogchen, which are like playing jazz improvisations...
Much of it depends on the student and on a particular teacher. An enormously talented student can learn playing just by watching a teacher, but most of us need gradual instruction. Some teachers believe in analytical understanding, others think technique can only come from drills, while yet others believe it's all about the feeling etc.