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Grilled Chicken Skewers with Peanut-Ginger Sauce

Rich, creamy coconut milk balances an intriguing combination of flavors in this bold, ginger-spiked peanut sauce. Some of the sauce is used as a marinade to pump up the mild taste of chicken breasts. The rest is cooked for a few minutes to gain intensity and then perfectly complement the grilled chicken skewers as a dipping sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders 
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated 
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated 
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter 
  • 1 Tbs. firmly packed brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk 
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce 
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil 
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes 
  • Canola oil for grilling 
  • 1 tsp. chopped roasted peanuts (optional) 

Directions:

Soak twenty 6-inch bamboo skewers in water to cover for at least 30 minutes. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat grilling over medium heat.

Cut each chicken tender in half on the diagonal. Drain the skewers. Thread a chicken piece onto each skewer and place in a nonreactive baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, lemon juice, peanut butter, brown sugar, coconut milk, 1⁄4 cup water, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes and whisk until smooth. Pour 1⁄4 cup of the sauce mixture over the chicken. Turn to coat the chicken in the mixture and marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Transfer the remaining sauce mixture to a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Remove the chicken skewers from the marinade and discard the marinade. Brush the grill rack with canola oil, then grill the chicken over direct heat just until cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.

Arrange the skewers on a warmed platter. Pour the sauce over the skewers, or pour it into a small bowl and set alongside for dipping. Sprinkle the skewers with the peanuts, if desired, and serve right away. Makes 20 skewers; serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers, by Amy Sherman (Oxmoor House, 2008).