Sambal-Sriracha Chicken Skewers

I buy food magazines.

I guess it says something about the stage in my life when I prefer Cooking Light, Food Network Magazine, and the recipe section in Sunset to fashion or gossip magazines. I love settling in on the couch with a glass of wine and flipping slowly through the pages. While I used to dog-ear the pages with outfits I coveted, now I get inspired by the glossy, drool-inducing pictures of perfectly styled dishes. I tear out and attempt interesting recipes, making tweaks to some along the way, learning new techniques and making my husband very happy. Sometimes, I’ll come across a photo of something so ridiculously scrumptious-looking that I MUST MAKE IT IMMEDIATELY. That’s what happened when I saw the cover of this month’s Bon Appetit.

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Right?!

To be fair, this recipe had me at the words, “Sriracha-glazed.” We like it hot around here- our dog is named Cholula, for Pete’s sake. But that photo- the rich colors, a vibrant freshness from the sprinkled herbs, the char of the chicken, the convenient drips of deliciousness here and there– sealed the deal. Somebody give Bon Appetit’s food stylist a raise because that person is brilliant.

This recipe is quite simple, as all really good recipes are. I had just about everything on hand, except the boneless chicken thighs and the fish sauce!

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The sauce came together quickly. I love the brightness that the fresh ginger brings to the party- it helps cut the spice factor.

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The sauce actually has more sambal (spicy chili paste) in it than Sriracha. I put it in a bowl with the grated ginger and some brown sugar. Spicy sweet? Yes, please!

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Next came some rice vinegar, the fish sauce, and our household’s favorite Asian condiment– the Sriracha. A quick whisk, and we’re DONE!

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Chicken thighs are new to me. I usually opt for cooking with meat from chicken breasts, but know that the thighs have more flavor (and are cheaper!). I cut them into smaller chunks and added the meat to the sauce.

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It’s not a marinade, so the chicken doesn’t need to spend time swimming in the sauce, but I had laundry to fold so I left it for a half hour or so. I skewered the chunks onto metal skewers for John to grill, and simmered the remaining sauce on the stove.

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John brushed some of the sauce onto the skewers while he grilled them, and I let the rest of it simmer a bit longer to get thick and fabulous. Can we talk about these skewers? (Cue tummy growl.)

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While John finished up the chicken, I made a salad: homegrown romaine, some arugula, diced jicama, baby heirloom tomatoes, feta cheese, and some homegrown chives, basil, and cilantro. I love eating out of our backyard!

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I’m pretty sure these are the prettiest chicken skewers I’ve ever seen. They look like the magazine cover, don’t they? Gorgeous!

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A quick shake of some sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon, and we dove in. Bold flavor. Spicy, but with a deep sweetness from the brown sugar. The charred bits are irresistible!

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John lets me know when a recipe is a good one, when he likes it enough for me to make it again. Within a few seconds of his first bite, he said, “Keeper, Ber. Wow. Keeper.”

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Yep. Kept.

Sambal-Sriracha Chicken Skewers (Bon Appetit)

You’ll need:

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
  • ¼ cup fish sauce (nam pla or nuac nam)
  • ¼ cup Sriracha
  • 1 tsp. grated peeled ginger
  • 1 ½ lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • Metal skewers, or bamboo skewers soaked in water for an hour

Heat the grill to medium-high heat.

Whisk together brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, Sriracha, and ginger in a large  bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Thread onto skewers.

Transfer marinade to a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by about half, 7-10 minutes.

Grill chicken, basting with some of the marinade, until cooked through. Serve with additional marinade. Try not to say, “Mmmmmm!” too many times. Yum!

**Hey, Mom! Rice vinegar, sambal, fish sauce, and Sriracha can be found with the Asian food items in your supermarket.

**Check out a full recipe list and links to my culinary adventures on the FOOD BLISS link above!**

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