Sweet Fire Chicken Skewers ~ tender chicken kabobs stacked with a rainbow of onions, peppers, and pineapple chunks grilled up in a sweet and spicy sauce inspired by my current Panda Express obsession.
Let’s fire up the grill! Today I’m teaming up with a talented group of bloggers to bring you a fun summer grilling menu. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the post to see the mouthwatering recipes from Cindy, Mary Ann, Sheri, Melanie, and Annie :)
It’s no secret I love skewers ~ you’ll find all sorts on the blog from fun Antipasto Skewers to Rosemary Chicken, Korean Bulgogi Beef, and Grilled Cherry Tomato Bruschetta skewers. Skewers give me the opportunity to get some much needed color onto the grill, and the peppers in today’s Sweet Fire Chicken make it easy to thread up a rainbow.
The fruits and veggies are built right into these skewers, so your plate will automatically be healthier, lower in fat, carbs, and calories than a classic burger meal.
Maybe burgers and dogs are the first thing that comes to mind when you smell a grill being fired up, but I think skewers! I think they’re the perfect grill food ~ they can be assembled as early as you like, and can be customized for everyone in your group. The carnivores get extra chicken, hot peppers for heat lovers, and kids get lots of sweet juicy pineapple. Skewers cook quickly and evenly because the ingredients are cut to the same size, so there’s no yucky chicken that’s burnt on the outside and raw inside.
No grill? You can cook these skewers in the oven
- Skewers are easy to cook in the oven.
- Cook them at 450F for about 15-20 minutes, and finish under the broiler for extra charring if you like.
- They can also be cooked on a stovetop grill pan.
The sauce is really the soul of this recipe…it’s an Asian inspired mix of sweet, sour, heat, and umami, and you can make it up to a few days in advance if you need to.
No marinating is necessary for these skewers, but if you want to brush a layer of sauce over them while they wait in the fridge, go for it. The more sauce the merrier, and in fact I like to serve extra at the table so people can slather it on as they please. Just be sure to keep the serving sauce separate from any sauce you brush on raw chicken to avoid contamination.
The sauce is nice and thick, so it clings to the skewers and doesn’t drip down excessively while they cook, a very good thing.
What to serve with chicken skewers
Kabobs are often a meal in themselves, with the meat and veggies all in one neat package, but here are a few ways you can augment this meal…
- serve over a bed of rice, couscous, or quinoa. We had ours with Coconut Rice, which I highly recommend.
- add fresh warm pita bread. Why not make homemade pita bread?
- or go low carb and serve with a simple salad or slaw.
These skewers cook up in no time on a hot grill. I just bought myself a Traeger smoker grill this month and I’m so excited to use it all year long. It’s perfect for my needs because I can plug it in and it heats up quickly…I’ve never loved messing around with charcoal and lighter fluid. It works as a smoker or a grill, and I can set the temperature just like an oven. Plus the grill runs on wood pellets for a wonderful smokey flavor. I cooked with apple wood today!
More skewers to grill up this summer ~
- Rainbow Chicken Skewers with Spicy Pesto Sauce
- Rainbow Salmon Skewers
- Steak Fajita Skewers with Cilantro Pesto
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 and 1/2 inch cubes
- 4 bell peppers, red, green, yellow, and orange, seeded and cut into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces
- optional: 2 jalapeño or other hot peppers, sliced into 1 and 1/2 inch slices.
- 1 large red onion, cut into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 and 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 and 1/2 cups pineapple juice (canned is fine)
- 2 Tbsp Tamari soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp plum sauce (substitute plum jam, or make your own plum sauce!
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2-4 tsp sriracha sauce
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- Thread your skewers, alternating chicken, onions, peppers, and pineapple.
- To make the sauce, put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring often. The sauce will thicken as it comes to a boil. Let it boil gently, stirring constantly, for a minute. Remove from heat and taste to see if you'd like to adjust the ingredients in any way. Set aside, or let cool and refrigerate if you're making in advance.
- Divide the sauce into two portions, and save one half for serving with the cooked skewers. Use the other half to brush each skewer on both sides before grilling.
- Grill the skewers over high heat for about 7-10 minutes per side, or until the chicken is done through (it should register 160F on an instant read thermometer.) Brush with more sauce while cooking if you like.
- Heat the reserved sauce and brush the skewers with extra sauce just before serving. Provide any extra sauce on the side.
I like to serve these skewers with Coconut Rice, recipe HERE