Sweet, Salty, Smoky…all flavors I just love in a dish. It’s what makes the food of Asia so appealing to me. Last year BON APPETIT had a kebab on it’s cover and i almost ate the page itself. The picture hits EVERY one of my senses and propelled me to pick up a pack of chicken thighs to make the dish myself. What’s not to love?? SAMBAL!! Do you use that sauce? You don’t?? March right out to the store and get a jar, you’ll thank me for it. It’s a ground chile sauce that’s popular in many Southeast Asian cuisines, SAMBAL OELEK is a popular version and is found in many Asian or mainstream markets: The variations on Sambal are very diverse, all starting with the ground local chiles then some have shrimp paste, or garlic, or lemon grass, or fish sauce, you get it..there are many regional nuances which make it a very special culinary treat and a great addition to your condimenets. Think Sriracha if it were a paste and not a “sauce”. There’s some texture here. It’s wonderful ! When I looked at this recipe I said..WOW..AND it contains SRIRACHA too! Yes, yes, there are tons of “Best in show” and favorites in the hot sauce world. These are A FOOD OBSESSION’s favorite, no debating it, i stand by my decision!
Let’s discuss the meat used in this recipe. It’s Chicken THIGHS, trimmed, boneless, skinless and before you can say..CAN I SUBSTITUTE, let me stop you there. Of course you can substitute this with Chicken breast BUT it’s different. Not even a like or dislike reason here, the reason is Chicken Thigh meat holds this marinate and cooking better, it’s just a better meat (poultry) cut to use and it stays juicier than white meat does, no disrespect to the breast meat.
The recipe speaks for itself, from the July 2013 issue of BON APPETIT, a great cooking and food magazine, A FOOD OBSESSION recommends it highly. While the recipe belongs to Bon Appetit, the picture at top is 100% A FOOD OBSESSION’S and I enjoyed EVERY MINUTE of eating it too…delicious and pretty as a picture!
Here’s the recipe adapted from the magazine, serves 4:
- 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 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 nuoc nam)
- 1/4 cup Sriracha
- 2 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- zest of 1 lime
- juice of 1 lime
- mint leaves and lime wedges for garnish
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch piece
- 8 bamboo skewers soaked in water at least 1 hour
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. Marinade for 2 hours. Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.
Transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce simmer until reduced by half , takes about 10 minutes
Grill chicken, turning and basting often with reduced marinade, until cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
- garnish with chopped mint leaves and lime wedges…a squeeze of lime over the chicken right after it’s off the grill really wakes up the flavors.
HOWEVER in true make it your own style..i felt it needed a little sumpin sumpin, so, i garnished the grilled skewers with fresh chopped mint leaves..i highly suggest it.
This recipe was/is a keeper!