Vietnamese-Style Sticky Chicken Skewers

Double or triple this recipe as needed if making skewers for a larger crowd.

Grilling Instructions: Light a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken 4 to 6 minutes on a side, or until cooked through (an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should register 165 degrees F).

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup palm sugar (or substitute brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chili sauce, like Sriracha, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Vegetable oil (for the baking sheet)
  • Leaves from 1/4 bunch cilantro, for garnish
  • 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
  • Cooked rice or rice noodles, for serving

Special equipment:

Method

1 Soak the skewers: If using bamboo skewers, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes.

2 Marinate the chicken: In a bowl, stir together the sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, chili sauce, garlic, and ginger. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 10 minutes at room temperature but no more than 30—otherwise the flavors become too pungent.

Vietnamese Sticky Chicken Skewers - Chicken marinated in sauce

3 Heat the broiler: Set an oven rack 4 inches from the broiler element and turn on the broiler to high.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly oil or spray it with vegetable oil. (This is important—the marinade tends to burn on the pan, but not on the chicken, and you will save yourself from a tedious cleaning job.)

4 Thread the chicken on the skewers: Place 3 to 5 pieces of chicken on each skewer, depending on whether you're using small or large skewers. Don't crowd the chicken pieces too close together; they will brown better if there's a little bit of space in between each piece.

Transfer the skewers to the baking sheet. Pour the excess marinade into a small skillet.

5 Cook the excess marinade: In a small skillet over medium heat, bring the excess marinade to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Brush the chicken all over with the reduced marinade.

Vietnamese Sticky Chicken Skewers

6 Broil the chicken skewers: Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned on top. With tongs, turn skewers over and brush with more marinade.

Broil for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned on the other side and cooked all the way through. Exact time will depend on the heat of your particular broiler; when done, the chicken should no longer be pink in the middle.

7 Serve the skewers: Transfer the skewers to a platter, or remove the chicken from the skewers and serve the pieces on a platter without the skewers, whichever you prefer. Sprinkle with cilantro and scallions and serve with rice or rice noodles.