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Chicken Skewers With Sesame Chicken Skin Crumbs

by , featured in Rice Table
Published by Quadrille
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Introduction

Chicken skewers have long been one of the most popular Korean street foods. Perfectly bite-sized strips of dark meat (usually leg meat) are grilled over charcoal, then brushed with a lick of sauce, the recipe for which is the owners’ well-kept secret. Chefs get quite theatrical blow-torching the top of the skewers while the undersides grill slowly over the charcoal heat to create what literally translates as ‘fire taste’ (bul mat).

The glaze I use here isn’t spicy, rather it is balanced with sweet and umami saltiness that eats pleasantly. If you want to get ahead, it can be made in advance and will keep for a few days in the fridge. Crispy chicken skin crumbs make exceptionally good seasoning salt; the trouble is, they are actually just as good straight from the oven, which makes it hard to resist nibbling on them while waiting for the skewers to cook.

Chicken skewers have long been one of the most popular Korean street foods. Perfectly bite-sized strips of dark meat (usually leg meat) are grilled over charcoal, then brushed with a lick of sauce, the recipe for which is the owners’ well-kept secret. Chefs get quite theatrical blow-torching the top of the skewers while the undersides grill slowly over the charcoal heat to create what literally translates as ‘fire taste’ (bul mat).

The glaze I use here isn’t spicy, rather it is balanced with sweet and umami saltiness that eats pleasantly. If you want to get ahead, it can be made in advance and will keep for a few days in the fridge. Crispy chicken skin crumbs make exceptionally good seasoning salt; the trouble is, they are actually just as good straight from the oven, which makes it hard to resist nibbling on them while waiting for the skewers to cook.

Image of Su Scott's Chicken Skewers
Photo by Toby Scott

Ingredients

Serves: 6 - makes about 12 skewers

Metric Cups
  • 8 boneless chicken thighs (about 900g/2lb, skin left on)
  • 30 grams fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons full fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 12 spring onions (sliced into 3cm / 1¼in long batons)
  • fine sea salt (to season)

For the glaze

  • 2 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 100 millilitres water
  • 1 whole dried red chilli

For the chicken skin crumbs

  • 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 8 boneless chicken thighs (about 900g/2lb, skin left on)
  • 1 ounce fresh gingerroot
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 12 scallions (sliced into 3cm / 1¼in long batons)
  • fine sea salt (to season)

For the glaze

  • 2 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • scant ½ cup water
  • 1 whole dried red chile

For the chicken skin crumbs

  • 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes

Method

Chicken Skewers With Sesame Chicken Skin Crumbs is a guest recipe by Su Scott so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. To prepare the chicken, first remove the skin from the meat. Scrape off any excess fat from the underside of the skin and lay it stretched out flat in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Cut the skinless thighs into bite-sized cubes or strips suitable for your choice of skewers, bearing in mind they’ll shrink a little when cooked, and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Finely grate the ginger and squeeze out the pulp over the meat, so only the juice is collected in the bowl underneath. Discard the pulp. Add the milk, sake, vegetable oil, sea salt and black pepper. Massage everything together to combine. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 4 hours or up to overnight.
  3. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze, except the dried red chilli, in a small saucepan. Once everything is well combined, add the chilli and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of clear honey.
  5. Preheat a fan oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 6). Lightly grind the sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar. Stir in the flaked sea salt and transfer it to a small mixing bowl.
  6. Put the tray of chicken skins in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until gorgeously crispy and puffed up in places. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat. When cooled down enough to handle, chop into crumbs and stir into the ground sesame and salt mixture. Set aside.
  7. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto the skewers, alternating 2 to 3 pieces of meat and a piece of spring onion. I like to thread them fairly tightly but flattened gently by hand as I go along, to ensure an even cooking surface. Repeat the process until you have about 12 skewers.
  8. If you are cooking on an outdoor charcoal barbecue grill, cook the skewers on the hot grill when the layer of white ash is visible over glowing embers. I like to give them a quarter turn every so often to char them evenly. It should take about 6–8 minutes for the chicken to cook through and appear lightly charred and caramelized. Brush them with the glaze and let the sugar bubble and caramelize briefly before removing from the heat.
  9. If you are cooking the skewers indoors, heat a griddle pan nice and hot over a medium heat. Place the skewers onto the hot griddle and cook for 3 minutes on the first side, then turn to cook for a further 4–5 minutes until all sides are nicely caramelized. Brush them with the glaze and let the sugar bubble and caramelize briefly before removing from the heat.
  10. Alternatively, cook them under the oven grill (broiler).
  11. To serve, you can either sprinkle the chicken skin crumbs liberally on top of the skewers or serve it as a dipping salt on the side. Enjoy while warm.
  1. To prepare the chicken, first remove the skin from the meat. Scrape off any excess fat from the underside of the skin and lay it stretched out flat in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Cut the skinless thighs into bite-sized cubes or strips suitable for your choice of skewers, bearing in mind they’ll shrink a little when cooked, and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Finely grate the ginger and squeeze out the pulp over the meat, so only the juice is collected in the bowl underneath. Discard the pulp. Add the milk, sake, vegetable oil, sea salt and black pepper. Massage everything together to combine. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 4 hours or up to overnight.
  3. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze, except the dried red chile, in a small saucepan. Once everything is well combined, add the chilli and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of clear honey.
  5. Preheat a fan oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 6). Lightly grind the sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar. Stir in the flaked sea salt and transfer it to a small mixing bowl.
  6. Put the tray of chicken skins in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until gorgeously crispy and puffed up in places. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat. When cooled down enough to handle, chop into crumbs and stir into the ground sesame and salt mixture. Set aside.
  7. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto the skewers, alternating 2 to 3 pieces of meat and a piece of scallion. I like to thread them fairly tightly but flattened gently by hand as I go along, to ensure an even cooking surface. Repeat the process until you have about 12 skewers.
  8. If you are cooking on an outdoor charcoal barbecue grill, cook the skewers on the hot grill when the layer of white ash is visible over glowing embers. I like to give them a quarter turn every so often to char them evenly. It should take about 6–8 minutes for the chicken to cook through and appear lightly charred and caramelized. Brush them with the glaze and let the sugar bubble and caramelize briefly before removing from the heat.
  9. If you are cooking the skewers indoors, heat a griddle pan nice and hot over a medium heat. Place the skewers onto the hot griddle and cook for 3 minutes on the first side, then turn to cook for a further 4–5 minutes until all sides are nicely caramelized. Brush them with the glaze and let the sugar bubble and caramelize briefly before removing from the heat.
  10. Alternatively, cook them under the oven grill (broiler).
  11. To serve, you can either sprinkle the chicken skin crumbs liberally on top of the skewers or serve it as a dipping salt on the side. Enjoy while warm.

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