Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Fiery Goodness on a Stick

My friend Mike is an awesome cook. And when he specifically contacts me to say, "You there! Make this!" I do as he says. Mike has already made the Sambal Chicken Skewers that are on the cover of the latest issue of Bon Appetit several times, and he told me that they are his new favorite thing to grill. In fact, I believe he referred to them as "life-changing." I must concur with my friend--they are a revelation!

Now I enjoy spicy food, but looking at the recipe, I was worried that these chicken skwers might blow my head off! So I cut back on both the sriracha (using a little more than 1/8 cup) and the chili paste (about 1/4 cup total). I also added a generous tablespoon of minced garlic, because it seemed a glaring omission. I marinated the chicken pieces for about four hours in the fridge, and then I did not baste the skewers as they cooked--I simply glazed them with the reduced marinade when they were done grilling. I would do that again, as I think it kept them from burning, and I could decide to go lighter or heavier on the sauce at the end, as desired. Even with cutting back on the fiery stuff and not basting all during cooking, they were still PLENTY hot, but as my roommate put it, "...in a good way." These are definitely a new summer grilling staple!

Sambal Chicken Skewers
(Source: Bon Appetit, July 2013

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar (I used seasoned) 
1/3 cup hot chili paste, such as sambal oelek (I used 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup fish sauce, such as nam pla or nuoc nam
1/4 cup sriracha (I used 1/8 cup)
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
*I added 1 tablespoon minced (peeled) garlic
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch pieces

Prepare grill for medium-high heat.

Whisk brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, sriracha, ginger, and garlic (if using) in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. (At this point, I let the chicken marinate for a few hours in the fridge.) 
Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.

Transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half (about 1 cup), 7–10 minutes. Grill chicken, turning and basting often with reduced marinade, until cooked through, 8–10 minutes. (I grilled the chicken, then glazed the skewers with the reduced marinade.) 


MsKree8 said...

Hi Lindsey, I saw this on the cover and read reviews which said it had great depth of flavor, not just heat. One question however, the sodium is off the charts at like 1900mg per serving. Is there a way to reduce that and maintain flavor?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Well, most of the sodium would come from the fish sauce, so you could leave that out, but it would definitely NOT taste the same. You might also swap out reduced-sodium soy sauce or a miso that's not AS salty for the fish sauce. That would cut sodium, but not eliminate it. The taste wouldnt be exactly the same, but have that yummy "umami" quality that you're going for.