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.

11 Responses to “Pasta al Pomodoro”

  1. 1

    Jenny Flake — May 4, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    Love pasta and this one looks great!! Glad it stood up to the test! :)

  2. 2

    Cookin' Canuck — May 4, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    My reaction was the same when I saw the cover – boring. However, I also know that sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. You’ve inspired me to try this, Lori.

  3. 3

    Amanda — May 4, 2011 @ 11:02 am

    LOVE all these pasta tips, thanks for sharing them here, Lori! Bookmarking this :)

  4. 4

    Maria — May 4, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    Great pasta post! Can’t wait to try it!

  5. 5

    Tracey — May 4, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try this one since my issue of BA arrived. Glad to hear it exceeded expectations!

  6. 6

    Tracy — May 5, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    I haven’t tried this yet but it sounds delicious!

  7. 7

    mary (sisters running the kitchen) — May 5, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

    i am so glad that you featured this! i have this magazine and have yet to try out this recipe. looks so good though. sometimes the most simple dishes are the best.

  8. 8

    Mrs. L — May 6, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    While it sounds like the dish is one to make, I still have a little trouble with it being on the cover. Covers to me are ideas I must get in the kitchen ‘right now’ to make, they are there to make me pick up the magazine to buy (I subscribe by the way). If it wasn’t for several bloggers like you making it and saying it was good, I’d probably pass it right by!

  9. 9

    Erin R — May 8, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    I made this dish for my fiance’s and my dinner last night. It was FABULOUS! Knowing that neither my fiance’s nor my knife cuts on our garlic and onion would ever be close to tiny enough for them to blend in with the texture of the pureed tomato, after we’d added the red pepper flakes and let it simmer for a smidge, we put the oil, garlic, onion portion in the food processor so it would puree too.
    Then, we just put that back in the pan with the tomato and it was smooth and wonderful.
    The sauce was waaaay better than any sauces we buy at the store, and since we just had to buy the can of tomatoes, it was super cheap too ($1.50).
    I truly feel that this is a restaurant-quality dinner.
    (also, we made this with linguini noodles, since that’s what we had, and I felt they held the sauce really well)

    I’m not sure if the photos capture the vibrant orange-red of the sauce, but this is totally a cover quality recipe.

  10. 10

    Nick — May 17, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    The dish looks delish! Reading through the 10 point guide, 2 of the points stand out to me. #3 You’re not using nearly enough salt and #4 Don’t dump the pasta water. Those are 2 things I have not been doing with my pasta and I really think they’ll make a big difference. I am going to try them today when I make spaghetti with clam sauce.

  11. 11

    Sue — June 18, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this!!! I’ve made it three times now and I simply love it. Mine doesn’t turn out quite as smooth as it should, because chopping onions kills me so I tend to leave them a little chunkier than they should be for this particular recipe, but this is now my favorite pasta sauce.

    And while I’m not vegetarian, I absolutely love that I can cook something so delicious and satisfying that has no meat in it!!!!

    LOVE this blog!

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