Every time I head over to 8th ave in Brooklyn or Flushing in Queens I always see at least one infamous cart selling chicken on a stick and no matter what you do to avoid it, once you get a whiff of it its close to impossible to pass it up. I mean c'mon its hot, grilled, smoky, & juicy chicken on a stick for $1.00. How do you pass that up? The answer is you don't. You give that man your money and you go on your merry way chicken in hand.
Weirdly enough I didn't set out to make them or even try to replicate them. Why bother when I can just walk up the block and there it is. I recently reorganized my spice drawer so that I can see every single spice I own in plain sight. No more pushing pass the multiple bottles of unknown spices. I'm forced to look at every single spice I've got in my aresenal without complaining that I can't find anything anymore or buying doubles of spices I already had. I ended up finding the holy grails of all spices. Not one but two of the best seasonings around. Smoked bourbon toragashi & five spice powder! Of course I threw both of them in. I got to cooking and little did I know that I cracked the code to the chinese street cart chicken skewers! Marie Kondo -ing my spice drawer was the way to go.
1 pound of chicken thighs
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of dried cilantro
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
1/2 teaspoon of five spice powder
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper powder (add more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tablespoon of smoked bourbon toragashi
1 tablespoon of oil
1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
Start by soaking a couple of skewers in some water. You do this just so that the wood doesn't burn when you cook them. I find that just a couple minutes is good enough.
Cut up the chicken thighs into medium sized pieces. You should get around 6 -8 pieces per thigh.
Then throw all the chicken pieces together with the rest of the spices & oils. Toss to combine. You can leave this to marinate for up to 2 days or use immediately. I'm impatient so I always use it immediately and its always seasoned perfectly to me.
Now you can start pushing the chicken pieces through the skewer. I normally do about 5 - 7 pieces per skewer.
Once you are ready to cook get your heaviest pan on a medium high flame with a little bit of oil and start searing those babies up. It will take about 3 minutes per side. I sometimes do it a little longer so I get the crunchy bits.
When they are all done, sprinkle with scallions or sesame seeds. Totally optional but I love both so I sprinkle them on!
Products That Helped Me Create This Recipe
What's included: 2.86 oz of organic white pepper powder
Mini Review: I love the clean taste of all simply organic spices and this one is no different. White pepper is a touch spicer than the more widely known grounded black pepper. It is also comes into powder form and used a lot in asian cooking.
What's included: 2.01 oz of organic five spice powder
Mini Review: Five spice is made up of cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, and white pepper and is also used a lot in asian cooking. It has a very warm and spicy blend of spices. I used it in a lot of beef, chicken, and pork recipes. But I have also used it for pumpkin macaroons! Its very versatile and an all around great blend of spices.
What's included: .3 - .4 oz tins of five different spices from Bourbon Barrel Foods
Mini Review: I found Bourbon Barrel products at the Bryant Park Holiday Market in NYC. I purchase the mini bourbon smoked togarashi & only recently found it after organizing my spice drawer. It gives your food a subtle smokey flavor and some notes like orange and garlic! If you don't want to buy all 5 click here!