Bring a bit of Thai street energy to your next barbecue, with these feisty, fragrant chicken skewers. There’s nothing quite like the grill to bring out the full pungency of fresh lemongrass and spring onion, and to spotlight the balance of big flavours that characterise Thai cuisine.
These “skewers” made by shaping mince around a lemongrass stem, are served with a side of nam prik num, a thick dipping sauce that “marries perfectly with fish, chicken and roasted root vegetables”, says Yolaine Corbin. “Nam prik num should be served at room temperature and will keep for two days in the fridge.”
Though the flavours aren’t shy, nor are they too pushy, with all extremes meeting in the middle: the sweetness of mango meets the sourness of citrus, and the salty funk of fish sauce pulls in the heat of chilli. Plus, there’s a fresh, herby burst from coriander and lemongrass.
Eat these straight from the stick, or serve them with rice and slices of cucumber as part of a shared meal. You’ll concur with David Thompson, chef, restaurateur and author of Thai Food and Thai Street Food. When asked on ABC Radio what about Thai cuisine drew him in, he replied: “It tastes bloody good.”
- Cut lemongrass lengthways in half and remove the soft middle part (you don’t want anything hard as it will become fibrous and unpleasant in the chicken mixture). Keep the 8 outer parts intact and trim the end, as they will be used as skewers later on.
- Place the reserved middle part of the lemongrass, spring onions, ginger, garlic and kaffir lime leaf (if using) in the bowl and chop 5 seconds/speed 7. Scrape, add coriander leaves and chop again 4 seconds/speed 7, set aside.
- Put the chicken meat in and mince 10—12 times/0.5 second/Turbo until a homogenous mince is obtained.
- Return the chopped spring-onion mixture, add the rest of the skewers ingredients (except lemongrass outer stems) to the mince and process 10 seconds/speed 6. Scrape the bowl and blend again 10 seconds/speed 5. Refrigerate to firm up for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the chicken mixture evenly into 8 portions. Spread a portion of mince into the palm of your hand and lay a lemongrass stem across, then squeeze lightly to surround the stem evenly. Repeat this process until all 8 skewers are done. They are now ready to be grilled, barbecued or shallow fried. Alternatively, you can weigh 1 kilogram of water in the Thermomix bowl and steam them in the Varoma 17 minutes/Varoma/speed 2.
- If you wish to deep-fry the skewers, make a beer batter. Dip the chicken-coated end of the skewers in batter and deep fry until golden brown and crisp.
AND … Choose maize cornflour and a brand of fish sauce that contains no hydrolized wheat if you need to ensure this dish is gluten fre