Sambal Chicken Skewers // Wit & Vinegar

Hey guys, I made you some spicy chicken skewers. Like really good spicy chicken skewers. I wasn’t originally going to share the recipe, but decided I should after a couple bites. That’s why half that skewer is missing. I would say it was Mose, the dog, but that would only be the truth if that’s what I called my mouth. But I don’t think people nickname their mouth.

Let’s move on.

I talked about grilling more this last grocery list and now I feel even more strongly about needing to do it. I post-ited (totally a word) this recipe as soon as I saw it in the latest issue of Bon Appètit, along with a BBQ sauce recipe that I’m really excited to try out. The glaze for these skewers is the real winner, I can totally see it on zucchini or salmon, or just my face if I wanted it to feel like it was on fire.

The glaze just gets mixed around in a saucepan, you toss some with the chicken then boil down the rest until it thickens up, then grill the chicken and brush some sauce while it’s going. I  grilled up some asparagus while the sauce thickened and then sat there and ate all of it while the skewers cooked. There was a pound of it, almost completely gone by the time the skewers were cooked. Needless to say I’m not allowed to use a public restoom for at least 24 hours.

While these skewers are really good on their own, with some rice and grilled veggies, I could easily see the meat removed and piled high on a sandwich with Asian sub fixins like cucumber, carrot, and cilantro with a little extra of the sauce on top. This stuff is just really really good and wouldn’t you know, right on time for your 4th of July Festivities.

A quick tip about the skewers: I used thighs because that’s what the recipe called for, but I would much rather prefer chicken breast tenders or chicken breast next time, just a preference. Also I had a decent amount of marinade left over, but I had brushed directly onto the raw chicken from the pot so I was iffy about using the rest of it. Next time I plan on  putting just enough into a smaller bowl so I can use the rest on sandwiches or save it for later.

Sambal Chicken Skewers
from the July 2013 issue of Bon Appètit

1/2 c 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*
1/4 cup Sriracha
2 t finely grated peeled ginger
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breast tenders, cut into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch pieces
*Check an Asian market for these for best options and prices.

If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for an hour so you aren’t a flaming mess in front of guests. Or take the safe route and invest in some metal skewers, mine are inexpensive ones from IKEA and they’re great.

Get your grill heating to medium high heat.

In a medium saucepan whisk together everything but the meat.

Place meat in a medium size bowl, and toss with about 1/3 c of the marinade. Bring the marinade in the saucepan to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 7-10 minutes. Use this time to put about 4 or 5 pieces of the meat on each skewer and set aside.

Once the marinade has reduced to a sauce, put about half in a small dish so you can brush it onto the meat as it cooks. Place skewers on grill and brush with sauce, then grill, turn and brush with sauce frequently until the meat is cooked through, 8-10 min.


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  • Yum! This looks delish! Found your blog through Instagram and glad I did 🙂

    • Thanks Kristina!!!

  • Oh man, I need to make this! Those are some slick skewers, my friend. Ikea knows what’s up.

    • Ikea totally knows what’s up! And they were super cheap too, obvs. And make these ASAP, also obvs.

  • These look awesome! I just got my Bon Appetit and totally was eye-ballin’ this cover, fo sho.

    • Elliot would totally be eye ballin these.

  • Those look soooo good. I would stick with chicken thighs, over breast meat, although it’s definitely more of a pain to prepare… That issue of Bon Appetit must have arrived since I’ve been on vacation; I’m glad I’ll have that to look forward to when I get back to California!

    • It’s a good one! I want to try a few different meats, but I’m super excited to get some zucchini up in there.

  • I love sambal. It’s always there in my pantry and just how people feel sriracha can make anything tasty, I feel the same about sambal. This sounds delicious and have to definitely try it out!

    • I’m excited to have that jar in my cupboard to try it out with more stuff!

  • those skewers are looking good! am I a weirdo for loving the color situation in that photo? that towel makes the chicken pop!

    • Um, that makes you my BFF. And I might have some photoshop to thank for that…

  • I’ll be heading right over… you did say you made me some right! these look tastey

    • oh yeah, of course, I’ve got like 20 extra skewers.

  • I live in Paris, where there are no fires or grills allowed at all, even if you have a wee backyard. I did not know this before I moved here. These look amazing and I’m saving this for when I’m in the states this summer.

    • THAT IS CRAZY. I would be an emotional wreck.

  • I had these same chicken skewers on the 4th and they were fantastic. There was also some kind of tomatillo sauce that we had with them as well. I don’t know if you have tried that. Great picture.

    • Yes! Was it the one in the same issue? I’ve got it post-ited

  • i need to try this ASAP and maybe invest in inexpensive skewers