Sambal Chicken Skewers

july-2013-cover-300

Cover recipe - Bon Appetit, Sambal Chicken Skewers; July 2013

I always look forward to the Bon Appetit Grilling Issue each year. We like to grill at our house, but don’t do it nearly enough! It’s fun to have a yearly issue full of recipes to try out. We love spicy food and the Sambal Chicken Skewers on the front of the July 2013 issue were calling my name. We have a little charcoal grill that we use and we love the flavor grilling over charcoal gives the food.  It used to be a bit of an argument over charcoal vs. gas grilling and my husband won that battle.

This recipe calls for using chicken thighs–something I’ve actually never skewered and grilled before.  But after making this twice in one week already, I think there’s no going back to chicken breasts on the grill.  The sauce sounded so good to us–sambal oeleck and sriracha mixed with other ingredients to create a spicy BBQ sauce.  Read my notes below to see what I thought of the recipe.
sambal-chicken-skewers

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Sambal Chicken Skewers

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Total Time: 25 min

Special equipment: 8 bamboo skewers soaked in water at least 1 hour.
Ingredient info: Hot chili paste is available at Asian markets and many supermarkets.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuo nam)
1/4 cup Sriracha
2 teaspoons finely grate peeled ginger
1 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2"-2" pieces

Directions:

1. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Whisk brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, Sriracha, and ginger in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.

2. Transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half (about 1 cup), 7-10 minutes.

3. Grill chicken, turning and basting often with reduced marinade, until cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

Tips:

*Look for sambal oelek and sriracha in the Asian section of grocery stores.
*If you prefer it to be less spicy, leave out some of the sambal oelek. The sriracha isn't as spicy.
*Remember to soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least an hour before skewering the chicken and grilling. This helps prevent the skewers from burning or catching fire.
*I also made this with metal skewers with great results. They cooked a bit faster.
*Really bring the remaining marinade to a good boil for a few minutes before basting the skewers again. We let it get nice and thick and served it alongside.
*These skewers were great served up with sticky rice and grilled zucchini from the garden.
*It's not listed in the recipe, but I topped mine with cilantro, Thai basil and mint leaves. The fresh flavor of the herbs was great with the spicy sauce.

Recipe source:Bon Appetit; July 2013

The results:

I don’t know what I can say except that this is truly my very favorite recipe for chicken skewers. Ever. It’s spicy and sweet and absolutely perfect. We are trying to think of things to put the sauce on.  It’s spicy enough to make your lips tingle, but not enough to have you searching for a glass of milk.  That’s the perfect kind of spicy in my book.  I headed over to the Bon Appetit website and found some other reader reviews and the consensus was the same–life-changing.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

YES. A resounding YES. Hands down my favorite recipe of 2013 thus far. I plan on making this once a week, if that says anything. :)  We’ve already made it twice.

Lindsey Johnson writes the food blog, Cafe Johnsonia, and she works as a freelance recipe developer and photographer. She is the mother to three beautiful, fun children and resides in Utah. She became gluten-free in 2010 and has enjoyed the learning process that comes along with gluten-free baking and cooking. When she's not in the kitchen or behind the camera, she enjoys gardening, reading, being outside, and spending time with her husband and children.

6 Responses to “Sambal Chicken Skewers”

  1. 1

    Tieghan — July 25, 2013 @ 6:57 am

    This looks like the best chicken!! Wow, that sauce sounds incredible!

  2. 2

    sara — July 25, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

    These look AMAZING. Totally gorgeous. SO need to try these!

  3. 3

    Faith — July 26, 2013 @ 7:23 am

    I am completely smitten with the flavors going on in this recipe. It’s now on my must-make summer list. And that photo of yours is absolutely stunning!

  4. 4

    Lori Lange — July 26, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    I can’t wait to try these- they look amazing!!

  5. 5

    Stuff I've Gotta Share and You've Gotta See | Recipe Girl — July 30, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

    [...] couple of weeks:  Honey- Tomato Bruschetta with Ricotta (SUCH a good summer appetizer recipe), Sambal Chicken Skewers (from the current cover of Bon Appetit), Bacon-Wrapped Corn on the Cob (looks crazy good to me!), [...]

  6. 6

    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — August 6, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    Looks delicious, what great flavors happening with these skewers!

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