Chicken skewers with herb sauce make a dream cooking dish

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Plate of chicken skewers with herbs and coconut

Active time:1h15

Total time:1h15 + marinating time

Servings:4 to 6

Active time:1h15

Total time:1h15 + marinating time

Servings:4 to 6


Burgers, hot dogs, and ribs are all summer BBQ staples, but there’s one grilling food group that will forever be in my heart: kebabs. From kofta skewers and tandoori chicken skewers to lamb souvlaki, Thai moo ping and negima yakitori, my hand will always gravitate to anything grilled on a stick.

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However, the common practice of skewering protein and veg on the same stick can lead to uneven cooking, so what if instead we pair hot skewered protein with crispy, crunchy, and refreshing? And, of course, if there are raw vegetables, you need a very soaking sauce. Gather those things – skewers, veggies, and dip – and you’ve got a platter built for a party.

The workhorse of this recipe is a punchy sauce – made with coconut cream, cilantro, mint, fish sauce, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, serrano chiles and coconut sugar to balance out the heat – which doubles as a marinade and dipping sauce. First, the ingredients are mixed and a portion is used to coat the cut chicken thighs. (You can also use chicken breasts, but thighs are more chewy and flavorful.) The lime juice in the marinade coupled with the smaller size of the chicken means it only takes a few hours for the flavor to soak in. the meat, eliminating the marinade overnight. .

Then the remaining base is tossed with avocado, turning it into a creamy, leafy dip that showcases the fresh herbs. In addition, the spiciness of the serrano peppers and the subtle umami funk of the fish sauce go particularly well with raw vegetables. Just be sure to press a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap over the surface of the sauce while the chicken marinates to prevent oxidation and preserve the luscious green color of the dip.

When it comes to vegetables — or raw vegetables, if you fancy — there are no hard and fast rules. I often use trays like these as an opportunity to go wild at the farmers market or use up the junk from my crisper. Combine crunchy veggies — think carrots, cucumbers, and radishes — with leafy greens, like cabbage, or little gems with a few seasonal dips, like cherry tomatoes and sweet peppers.

Another great thing about this platter is that much of it can be made ahead of time. Start by making the marinade and skewering the chicken the morning of your barbecue. You can also prepare most of your vegetables the day before. (Pro tip: Throw all the crunchy veggies in ice water just before serving to jazz them up.) Then come party, all that’s left to do is grill and assemble.

Plate of chicken skewers with herbs and coconut

This platter of herbed chicken skewers and crunchy vegetables is made for sunny barbecues and quiet pastures late into the evening. The star of the show is a punchy sauce of coconut cream, cilantro, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime and serrano pepper that doubles as a marinade for the chicken thighs and a dipping sauce for the crunchy vegetables.

Use the suggestions below or any combination of crunchy, leafy, and dipping vegetables.

For 6-8 people, you will need about 2-2 1/2 pounds of mixed produce. You will also need wooden skewers.

Get ahead: Wooden skewers should be soaked in water for at least 20 minutes before grilling.

Storage: Refrigerate sauce for up to 2 days, as well as leftover chicken and vegetable skewers, in separate containers, for up to 5 days.

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  • 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt, divided
  • Finely grated zest of 2 to 3 limes (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 serrano peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 medium avocado (5 ounces), halved and pitted
  • 2 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • Neutral oil, such as canola, for greasing the grill
  • 1 bunch baby carrots (8 ounces total), green tops trimmed, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into spears
  • 1 to 2 watermelon radishes (6 ounces total), thinly sliced ​​(can substitute 1 small bunch of red radishes)
  • 6 ounces snow peas
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved if large
  • 1/4 medium head red or green cabbage (6 ounces total), cut into large chunks

Prepare the chicken and its dip: in a blender, mix the coconut cream, sugar, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of salt, lime zest and juice, garlic and serrano peppers . Blend until smooth. Add the cilantro and mint, in batches, and stir over high heat until smooth, being careful not to overmix and heat the sauce, 15 to 30 seconds. Transfer 1 cup of sauce to a large bowl and set aside.

Take the flesh of the avocado and add it to the rest of the sauce in the blender; blend until smooth, about 15 seconds. Transfer to an airtight container and place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly over the surface of the sauce to prevent discoloration (if using parchment, cut the circle to fit inside the container). Cover with a lid and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add the chicken and the remaining teaspoon of salt to the bowl with the reserved marinade and toss until evenly coated. Thread 3 or 4 pieces of chicken onto each of the soaked wooden skewers and place them on a baking sheet or rimmed plate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

When you are ready to cook, prepare the grill for direct medium heat (about 400 degrees; see NOTE).

Lightly oil your grill. Working in batches if necessary, place the skewers on the grill and cook without moving them, until the chicken develops grill marks, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If grilling in batches, transfer cooked skewers to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Assemble the Platter: Transfer the Creamy Herb-Coconut Sauce to a small bowl. Stack the skewers on a large serving platter and arrange the vegetables on the rest of the platter.

NOTE: To prepare the grill: If using a gas grill, set it to 400 degrees. If you’re using a charcoal grill, fill a chimney starter with charcoal, light it, and when the coals are red, pour them into the grill. Scatter more charcoal, if needed. When all the coals are ashy and gray but still very hot, about 15 minutes, your grill should be on medium heat. (Use a grill thermometer or test the heat by holding your hand, palm down, about 4 inches from the grill. If you can hold it for about 5 seconds, the heat should be medium heat, or 375 to 425 degrees . )

If using charcoal, this dish may take about 15 minutes longer to prepare.

Due to variability in marinade absorption, an accurate analysis is not available.

From food writer Asha Loupy.

Tested by Hattie Ulan; questions by e-mail to [email protected].

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