Island Chicken Bites
A little inspiration from the West Indies
Serving Size: 4
Whenever I work on a recipe that is inspired by a particular region I always worry that someone from that region will hunt me down and beat the pudding out of me for bastardizing their native dish.
These skewers have flavors inspired by the West Indies, but no claims to authenticity (said the girl from Manhattan). You can skewer up a bunch of chunks of chicken on a long stick, maybe interspersed with peppers and onions, maybe pineapple, and that could be a main course. Or just find smaller skewers, thread one or two small pieces on, and then you have a lovely little appetizer.
If you are making bigger skewers, then you may well want to skewer up the chicken (and any fruit of vegetables you are using) before cooking it under the broiler or on the grill – this will make for easier flipping. If you are using wooden skewers, don’t forget to soak them for at least 30 minutes first, which will prevent them from burning.
If you can line your baking sheet with parchment you will be rewarded with an easy clean up. If you have time, make the marinade earlier in the day, and let them marinate for several hours, which will deepen the flavors.
These are nice and well seasoned on their own, but also try serving them with a dip made from a bit of sour cream mixed with Ketjap manis, which is an Indonesian sweetened soy sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of the Ketjap manis, taste, and then add more if you like. You could also use a combo of molasses and soy sauce with the sour cream, and maybe another squeeze of lime juice, too.
Finally, these don’t call for much marinating time, but 6 hours or so in the fridge will give them even more flavor. You can marinate them for up to a day but I wouldn’t go for more than that or the texture of the chicken might break down a bit.
Island Chicken Bites
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha, Tabasco, or other hot sauce, or to taste
- Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 hot rice to serve (optional)
Dipping Sauce (optional):
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2-4 tablespoons Ketjap manis
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preheat the broiler. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, molasses, lime juice, cumin, hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Toss the chicken cubes with the mixture until well coated – let sit in the fridge for an hour (or more) if you have the time.
3. Spread them on the baking sheet in a single layer, so they are not touching. Broil them for 4 minutes, then turn them with tongs and broil them for another 4 minutes, until they are nicely caramelized and cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, if you are making the dip, in a small bowl stir together the sour cream, Ketjap manis, lime juice and salt and pepper.
5. Skewer up the chunks, or serve them in a shallow bowl, with the rice or serve on a platter with toothpicks to skewer the chunks.