Smoky grilled chicken skewers recipe marinated in ginger, garlic, coconut cream, and soy sauce. Then finished with a sweet coconut cream glaze and served with a simple peanut sauce. Big on flavor, super easy to throw together!
There's something about grilling meats that really makes me excited and makes me feel like Spring is finally here! It definitely has something to do with the smells of BBQ char in the air that tells me everyone else is also feeling the same way and loving the warmer weather! Regardless of the weather, I love grilling meats, even in the cold frigid winters!
This grilled chicken skewers recipe was actually born out of my love (and addiction) of coconut cream. These Thai kebabs are flavoured with coconut cream, soy sauce, garlic and ginger from the marinade and then grilled over a bbq for a smoky flavour. I glaze it at the very end with a bit of coconut cream glaze which gives it a bit of sweetness at the end. I like to pair this chicken with a super-easy peanut sauce and ta-da! You have yourself some seriously good eats to share with everyone (or hoard yourself). 🙂
INGREDIENTS FOR GRILLED CHICKEN SKEWERS
For this Thai kebabs recipe, you can find most ingredients at your local grocery store with the exception of coconut cream, oyster sauce and dark soy sauce. Coconut cream, oyster sauce and dark soy sauce can be found at an Asian grocery store or online.
- Chicken - For this recipe, I like to use boneless dark meat. I usually like to debone the chicken myself and save the bones for a broth but you can buy pre-deboned chicken to make it easier. I prefer dark meat over white meat, mostly because I find it juicier and less dry. You can use white meat for this recipe if that is what you prefer.
- Coconut Cream - I use coconut cream a lot in my recipes because it has a much stronger coconut flavor. I also like the thicker consistency of coconut cream since it makes the marinade stick to the meat better. If you cannot find coconut cream where you are, you can substitute it with coconut milk but try to look for a coconut milk with a higher fat content which usually will make the coconut milk thicker. When you are buying coconut cream or coconut milk, make sure the ingredients are just coconut extract, and water. I find that the ones with chemicals in them (ie. polysorbate 80 etc) aren't as flavorful.
- Oyster Sauce - Oyster sauce gives the marinade an extra layer of umami flavor. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with soy sauce and a pinch of sugar.
- Soy Sauce - I like to use light soy sauce for as the salt for this recipe. Dark soy is slightly thicker and has a thin syrupy consistency. It gives the chicken its dark brown color. If you cannot find a dark soy sauce, you can substitute it with light soy sauce.
- Honey - I like to use honey on the glaze because it is already in syrup form. You can substitute it for sugar, but you will need to melt the sugar in ½ tablespoon of hot water to melt it before mixing it with the coconut cream glaze.
MARINATING THE CHICKEN
There's no right or wrong way to prepare the marinade. You can use a mortar and pestle, a small food processor or you can chop the ginger and garlic finely by hand. Use the method that is easiest for you 🙂
Once the marinade is done, and the meat is mixed in with it - I let it marinade for approximately 1-2 hours. Sometimes if I know I need to make a huge batch for a big event, I will even pre-skewer the meat and marinade it overnight. It marinates fine pre-skewered with no issues 🙂
PREPARING AND SKEWERING THE THAI CHICKEN SKEWERS
Skewering is definitely the most tedious part of this recipe. Soak the ends of the skewers that will be exposed to the heat into a cup of water for a few minutes so that they don't burn off. No need to worry about the pointy end, it will be covered with meat.
I personally like to keep the chicken skin on because it adds a bit of flavour and texture to the skewers but you can choose to remove the chicken skin if you want it to be a bit healthier. If you remove the chicken skin, it will definitely be a lot easier to skewer as I find the skin is the hardest part to pierce.
I also find it easier to keep the meat at the top 1-2 inches of the skewer and push the meat down as more get skewered on. You may need to skewer some pieces twice as you don't want floppy bits of chicken dangling while you are grilling, since those pieces can easily burn.
GRILLING AND GLAZING THE CHICKEN SKEWERS
When it comes to chicken skewers, I find one of the best parts is the smoky flavor so I love using a charcoal BBQ for this and grilling this over direct heat. However, if you do not have a charcoal BBQ, you can still use a gas BBQ as well. Regardless of what type of BBQ you decide to use, you want to cook these over a very high heat (500F), over direct heat. Make sure to watch the meat and don't walk away from it while you are cooking it.
This recipe works amazing with a pork as well. Cut up a pork shoulder into small pieces and substitute it for the chicken for something different!When the meat is almost done, brush a few layers of the coconut glaze you prepared onto the chicken for a bit of sweetness and char. You don't want to keep the glazed meat on the grill for too long or the sugars may burn, 2-3 minutes should be enough time to caramelize the glaze.
QUICK AND EASY PEANUT SAUCE
This chicken skewer recipe, doesn't really need a sauce but if you're like me and like to dip everything, here is a great quick and easy peanut sauce I usually like to throw together to dip my chicken skewers in. The details of the ingredients are below in the recipe card.
If you are up for it, I also have a Thai peanut sauce recipe you can create from scratch as well which has a bit more texture to it.
LOOKING FOR MORE THAI RECIPES? TRY THESE!
- Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot and Sour Soup)
- Thai Basil Turkey Fried Rice
- Khao Soi (Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup)
- Creamy Thai Red Curry
- Thai Peanut Sauce (From Scratch)
DID YOU MAKE THIS THAI CHICKEN KEBAB RECIPE?
If you made this Thai Coconut Grilled Chicken Skewers recipe leave me a comment to let me know how it went! I also want to see! Follow Pups with Chopsticks on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag and hashtag it with @pupswithchopsticks and #pupswithchopsticks. I love to know what you are making!
Grilled Thai Coconut Chicken Skewers
- If you can't find coconut cream, you can substitute it with coconut milk however it will not have as strong a coconut flavor and the consistency of the marinade may be runnier. If you use coconut milk, try to find a high full fat content coconut milk and try to find a coconut milk with just 2 ingredients in it - coconut extract and water. Any coconut milk that has chemicals (ie. polysorbate80) tastes less coconutty.
- This recipe works great with pork as well. Try switching up the chicken for chunks of pork shoulder! 🙂
- When it comes to chicken, I usually prefer dark meat over white meat because it has more flavor albeit less healthier. If you choose to use chicken breast, I find brining it (1 ½ tablespoons of salt with 4 cups of water) for a few hours in a salt water, prior to marinating it makes the chicken breast less dry.
- Chicken skin is added flavour and texture, but it can be removed to make these chicken skewers a bit healthier
- Oyster sauce gives the marinade an extra layer of umami flavor. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with soy sauce and a pinch of sugar.
- I like to use light soy sauce for as the salt for this recipe. Dark soy is slightly thicker and has a thin syrupy consistency. It gives the chicken its dark brown color. If you cannot find a dark soy sauce, you can substitute it with light soy sauce.
- I like to use honey on the glaze because it is already in syrup form. You can substitute it for sugar, but you will need to melt the sugar in ½ tablespoon of hot water to melt it before mixing it with the coconut cream glaze.
- 1 kg chicken (dark meat preferably)
Simple Peanut Sauce (Optional)
- 2 tablespoons coconut cream
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter (unsweetened)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
- 2 teaspoon maple syrup (or honey)
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons water (or enough to thin it out to the consistency you like)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
- 1 teaspoon chili oil (optional)
- crushed peanuts (optional, sprinkled on top)
Quick & Easy Peanut Sauce (Optional)
- In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients from the peanut sauce ingredient list and mix well.
- Set aside until the chicken skewers are ready to be served.
Marinating & Skewering the Chicken
- If you are using wooden skewers, in a tall cup, add water and soak the back ends (the ends that are not pointy) so they don't burn on the grill.
- Cut the chicken up into 1x1 inch chunks and set it in a bowl
- Using your preferred method (mortar and pestle, food processor, or finely chop by hand) chop the garlic and ginger up as finely as you can and add it to the chicken
- Add the rest of the marinade ingredients from the 'Marinade' ingredient list into the bowl and mix everything together.
- Let it marinade in the bowl for 1-2 hours in the fridge
- Remove them from the fridge 30 minutes before you are about to grill them.
- Skewer the chicken. You may need to skewer some pieces twice so that there are not a lot of loose pieces. The loose pieces usually burn the quickest, so you want the meat to be snug with the skewers. (Also make sure not to run your fingers along the skewers to prevent splinters. Salty marinade splinters are not fun. Use the meat as a shield to run them down the skewers 🙂 )
Making the Coconut Cream Glaze
- In a small bowl, combine the coconut cream, honey and soy sauce and set aside for glazing the chicken at the very end.
- Set the charcoal or gas grill to approximately 500F (260C)
- When the grill has reached the temperature, add the skewers on the grill. You want to cook them over direct heat.
- Flip them every 2-3 minutes, 4-5 times or for approximately 15-18 minutes. Do not leave them un-attended, they will burn quickly. Once the meat has browned and charred over the direct heat for 15 minutes, it should feel a bit more solid on the stick and should be cooked.
- Brush on the coconut cream glaze and flip them every minute, 2-3 times to get that sweet and sticky caramelized char.
- Serve over a bed of green lettuce with the peanut sauce. (The green lettuce is not just a garnish, but a great way to do mini chicken lettuce wraps with the peanut sauce! 🙂 )
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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