I know grilling season is over for some people in parts of the country where the temperatures have gotten downright cold. Here in Texas, the weather has finally cooled off enough where you no longer dread going outdoors during daylight hours. But this recipe is so worth the effort of braving the weather (or, in my case, the mosquitos) to fire up the grill. I did experiment with trying to make this a non-grilling recipe by searing the chicken in a cast iron skillet and then broiling it in the oven. However, the flavors just didn’t meld together in the same way as when I grilled it. You really don’t want to deprive yourself of this sweet-spicy-salty-smokey goodness. The heat of the grill allows the brown sugar to caramelize and mellows the fish sauce, bringing everything into balance.
I am a woman of few words today. The kids are out of school for fall break and I hear lots of rustling in the kitchen. So, I am off to see what they are up to. Have a great weekend!
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1–2 tablespoons hot chili-garlic sauce (such as sambal oelek)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces
- Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, for serving
- Whisk brown sugar, rice vinegar, chili-garlic paste, fish sauce, and garlic together in a small saucepan. Measure out 4 tablespoons of sauce into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken pieces to bag, seal bag, and marinate chicken in refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- Bring remaining sauce in saucepan to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced and sauce is the consistency of thick syrup, 5-10 minutes.
- Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer. Grill chicken until just cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Brush reduced sauce onto top sides of chicken skewers then cook 1-2 minutes more. Transfer chicken skewers to serving dish, sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
If using wooden bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 1-2 hours. It is surprising what a difference it makes.
I like to make a little extra sauce to drizzle over steamed rice and broccoli to go with the chicken.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, July 2013.