Summertime means grilling season and these Sweet and Spicy Guava Chicken Skewers are the perfect recipe for an easy summer dinner.
I love making skewered food to grill. From seafood, to veggies, to all kinds of meats. There is just something fun about food on a stick.
We decided to surprise our girls with a quick trip to Disneyland last month. School was done for my husband so we decided to knock off from their schooling a week early and head over. Hoping to avoid the crowds since California schools were still in session. Ha ha ha. It was so insanely crowded, but we still had a blast.
I mentioned my disappointment in Disneyland food on my Instagram page a few weeks ago, there really is a lot left to be desired for both Disneyland and CA adventure when it comes to casual dining. The snacks are good ( LOVE their popcorn, Dole whips, churros and beignets) but if you are looking for a more substantial, healthier meal, well, there isn’t MUCH to choose from that is decent. And not insanely overpriced. The best restaurants are at Downtown Disney by far. We had some good meals there.
Bengal Barbeque inside Disneyland in Adventureland is our favorite stop for a quick bite. It has to be quick since there isn’t much seating available, it gets quite crowded in the general area ( its right across from the Jungle Cruise and the entrance to Indiana Jones ride). Last time we were at Disneyland two years ago there was no seating at all and we stood under umbrellas eating our chicken skewers in the pouring rain. This time we discovered they had opened up an inside space between the bbq shop and the gift shop next door. Seating was first come first serve. Turnover was fast enough that we never had to wait to long to rest our weary legs to enjoy our snack.
I love the Chieftan chicken skewers at Bengal BBQ so much that I have wanted to recreate them for my blog. I have been tinkering with my guava sauce and marinade and I think I got it as close as I could. The chicken skewers at Disneyland are chicken breast pieces with a Polynesian sauce. It is a sweet, sour and spicy sauce. I am sure the ingredients are online somewhere as well as plenty of other “copycat recipes”. Disneyland recipes are popular to recreate.
This past time their seasonal/specialty skewer was pork belly in a similar Polynesian style sauce and those were amazing. I want to recreate those as well. The chicken breast skewers this time were just a touch overcooked, a little on the dry side even with the amazing sauce they come with. The last time we were at Disney we got their “Moana” skewer which I have also recreated and will share in a few days. But first, on to these Sweet and Spicy Guava Chicken skewers.
For this recipe I decided to use chicken thighs instead of breasts. They take up the flavor of the marinate better and stay a lot juicier when grilled. You can use breasts if you want to. I personally prefer thighs. I used my two pronged skewers, which I love since the meat doesn’t spin when I flip them like it can sometimes do with single prong skewers. Wooden skewers work just fine as well, just remember to soak them well before using so they don’t catch fire on the grill!
Low and slow is the trick for grilling these. 350-400 Deg F MAX. If your grill has hot spots, keep the skewers over the cooler areas as best you can. I have a gas grill, haven’t tried these on a charcoal grill yet.
- 3 lbs chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut in 2 to 3 pieces depending on how big they are
- 3-4 bunches of green onion, light and dark green parts only, cut into 2 1/2”-3” lengths
Guava Sauce and Marinade:
- 3 C guava nectar
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1/2 C ketchup
- 1/2 C honey
- 3 tbsp Shoyu ( soy sauce or tamari. I like using Aloha shoyu for this recipe)
- 2 1/2 Tbsp tamarind paste
- 2/3 C rice vinegar
- 2-3 tsp sriracha
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 1/2 tbsp water
- Make the Guava sauce/marinade first.
- Combine everything in a medium saucepan except for the cornstarch slurry. Stir until combined then bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 15-20 min until slightly reduced. Strain out the garlic and ginger root solids then return to the pan and bring back to a simmer.
- Combine the cornstarch and water to create the slurry then add to the sauce, stirring well while its added in. Continue cooking the sauce until it is thickened. Tasted and add more sriracha if a spicier sauce is desired. Let cool completely before marinating chicken
- Place prepared chicken into a large bowl and pour over a cup to a cup and a half of the sauce. Mixing well. Marinate for 4-6 hours up to overnight. Bring to room temperature when ready to grill.
- Preheat the grill to medium low.
- Skewer the chicken and green onion alternating with a piece of chicken and three pieces of the green onion. Skewer through each chicken piece 2-3 times folding it as you go. Each skewer should have 4 pieces of chicken and three bundles of green onion. Repeat with remaining chicken and green onions.
- Grill skewers on low. Start basting with the guava sauce when the chicken is about halfway cooked. With the higher sugar content in the sauce from the juice, honey and ketchup the sauce will tend to char before the chicken is cooked. Baste every time you flip the skewers, every few minutes. The skewers should take about 25 min to grill. More for thicker pieces of chicken.
- If your grill has hot spots, keep the skewers over the cooler parts. You want nice, even cooking.
- Once cooked, transfer to a serving platter and liberally brush the chicken with more sauce.
- Serve with sticky rice sprinkled with soy sauce and some green onion slices.
I get guava juice in cartons or glass bottles from a local international grocery store. Can't remember the brand name off the top of my head right now but I always look for juice with minimal ingredients. No other fruit juices, corn syrups or thickeners. Usually just the fruit, water and maybe some added sugar. I want the flavor of the guava to really shine in this marinade.
You can find tamarind paste at any international or well stocked Asian market. I have found it at Whole Foods before.
Bengal BBQ’s chicken skewers don’t have green onion with them, I added them in for color and because I love grilled green onions as well. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do and happy grilling!