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.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.


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13 Responses to “Pimiento Mac and Cheese”

  1. 1

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 13, 2013 @ 7:00 am

    Thanks for your review!

    “spicy sweet flavor of the pimiento” — mmm that sounds so good! But I can see what you mean, that this is not at all classic mac n cheese. But a fun twist!

  2. 2

    Lori @ RecipeGirl — May 13, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    So I have to admit… I was like, “Wait… where are the pimientos in the recipe??” I guess I didn’t know what Pimientos were, but I’m guessing they’re the same as the red peppers listed in the recipe? I’m excited to try this out, especially since it’s touted by the magazine as being the tastiest version of mac they’ve had!” Glad you enjoyed it too!

  3. 3

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — May 13, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

    I’ll eat mac and cheese in just about any form. Box or otherwise. And I love adding new flavors. I can’t wait to try this one out.

  4. 4

    Kathryn — May 14, 2013 @ 6:53 am

    I’ve been keeping this issue of Bon Appetit since March 2011 meaning to make this recipe and never quite got round to it. It sounds pretty great although I completely take your point around comfort food – I sometimes crave that wonderful blandness of mac and cheese!

  5. 5

    Beth — May 14, 2013 @ 7:12 am

    Love it – and if anyone can change his mind, it’ll be you!

  6. 6

    Tracey — May 14, 2013 @ 8:21 am

    I have never had pimiento cheese, and I keep telling myself I’m going to try it and then promptly forget. This looks like the perfect introduction!!

  7. 7

    sandra — May 14, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    That boyfriend is one tough customer. But I see his point. You like what you’re used to. He likes his out of the box the same way you like it homemade – it is the nostalgia you are both looking for and not the culinary expertise.

  8. 8

    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — May 14, 2013 @ 10:35 am

    I grew up eating pimiento cheese by the spoonfull and I would be all over this dish, especially with my love for any kind of mac and cheese. Great job!

  9. 9

    Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily — May 14, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

    Say What?!?! Poor, poor boy! You must remedy that ;)
    This looks fantastical!

  10. 10

    Faith — May 15, 2013 @ 8:32 am

    I’m always up for trying a new version of mac and cheese! I’d love to test this one out to see if it could make a mac and cheese lover out of my hubby. :)

  11. 11

    Reeni — May 16, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

    I grew up on homemade too and am always looking for new versions to try! This looks utterly delicious!

  12. 12

    Chris — May 21, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    I’m a big fan of homemade pimento cheese so I know I’d like this version of mac and cheese.

  13. 13

    Tieghan — May 21, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

    I am with you, homemade mac and cheese is the way to go. Always! I can not wait to try this fun pimento version! YUM!

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