A Collection of the Best Skewered Chicken Appetizers from Around the World

by - 5:08 AM

I was hosting a New Year’s Eve Party at my home this year. It was the first time I hosted any kind of party, so I had a rather hard time to come up with the menu. The party was supposed to be a relaxed get-together of friends and family, not a dinner. Plus, I am not the type of cook who likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and experiment with complicated dishes.

So, I decided to arrange a buffet and fill it with all sorts of appetizers. The whole idea was a success. My guests were able to eat standing, without making a mess. In addition, the food was light, which is very important when there is a lot of alcohol and dancing involved.

Chicken Appetizers with a Twist

One of the recipes I used was particularly good. It was not only absolutely delicious but also very easy and simple to prepare. And that my friends, easy and simple, are the two attributes that I am looking in a recipe in order to make it a part of my regular repertoire.

What I have in mind is a Chicken Appetizer recipe, but this particular one I made was skewered chicken with an Asian twist. The twist starts developing from the marinade which involves pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, fresh garlic, and fresh grated ginger. Prepare this the night before and all you need to do the following day is to arrange the chicken slices on the skewers, sprinkle some sesame seeds, and cook on a grill!

This twist swept me away! What an easy way to turn a plain recipe into a spectacular dish! This gave me the idea to look for twists all over the world. This post is a collection of the best exotic skewered chicken appetizers, perfect for any type of gathering, from kids’ birthdays to weekend barbecues!

The Best Skewered Chicken Appetizers in the World 

Satay Chicken Appetizer Recipe

Satay originates from Indonesia, where it is a national dish. It is also popular in almost all South Asian cuisines, including the Malaysian, Thai, and the Filipino. The most authentic versions of this dish are made with coconut palm or bamboo skewers. Then they are barbecued or grilled over a charcoal or wood fire and complemented with spicy sauces seasonings.

The Thai Chicken Satay is an explosion of flavors! The marinade base is the same as the one I mentioned before, but this one is enriched with lime juice, fish sauce, sriracha, and basil. The marinade is reserved and later turned into the most amazing sauce/dip you can imagine, by simmering it and mixing it with peanut butter. Caramelized pineapple and nutty sauce; what more could you wish for from a dish?

Yakitori Chicken Appetizer Recipe

Yakitori is Japanese chicken appetizer which uses skewers called Kushi. These are usually made of bamboo or, alternatively, steel, with chicken meat or chicken offal, grilled over a charcoal fire. Yakitori is seasoned with tare sauce during cooking, but also served with tare afterward as a dip. Tare sauce is a general term for soy sauce-based dips used in Japanese cuisine.

The recipe I like combines chicken and scallions on bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes, to prevent them from burning when on the grill). The sauce is made with ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup mirin, ¼ cup sake, ¼ cup water, and 2 tsp. packed brown sugar. Part of the sauce is used to brush on the meat while cooking in order to caramelize. The rest is added on top of the skewers when done.

Kebab Chicken Appetizers

Kebab, also called kabob in the US, has so many different variations. What is common for all of them is that they originate from the Middle East and are generally based on grilled meat. The most popular variations also include veggies like onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes arranged together with the meat on the skewer or prepared on separate skewers.

The variation I often use is quite quick to make because the marinating process takes only an hour. The marinade is made with a range of flavors to give the exotic twist - olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, chili flakes, ground cumin seeds, minced onion, minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley leaves, and some salt. The original recipe combines chicken cubes with green and yellow bell peppers, to add some color as well as freshness, but you can basically use any vegetables you like.

For a taste closer to the original, try the Iranian Jujeh kebab, where the chicken is marinated in minced onion, lemon juice, and saffron, then grilled with tomatoes and peppers. Jujeh is very often served with lavash bread or basmati rice.

Espetada Chicken Appetizers I discovered this amazing variation of chicken appetizers when me and my husband went to Portugal for our honeymoon. The espetada is made usually of meat chunks rubbed in garlic and salt. Other variations have ‘rubs’ made of herbs. Traditionally, the skewers are made from bay leaf sticks and cooked over wood chips or hot coals. What is special about these skewers is the way they are served- the skewer hangs from a hook on a stand, which looks really interesting.

The recipe I am sharing incorporates the Portuguese chicken appetizer version with Italian pesto. Actually, the chicken is rubbed in herbs that fomr the base for pesto sauce, i.e. dried Italian herbs, mixed with garlic, salt, and pepper. The skewers are then fried on a pan greased with butter. The recipe calls for roasted veggies as well. The mix is made with mushrooms, courgettes, rocket or spinach, as well as red peppers, covered in coconut oil and roast for 35 minutes in the oven. However, the veggie combo is up to you. You can add anything you like, just don’t forget to sprinkle with the remaining herb rub before roasting. Another option is to prepare the original pesto sauce and use it for rubbing and over the veggies.

Pesto is very easy to make. Simply place the ingredients (basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, salt, and pepper) in a food processor and mix until fully incorporated and smooth.

Anticucho Chicken Skewers

Antichuchos are popular and inexpensive dishes in some South American countries, very often sold as street food. The meat is usually in vinegar and spices like cumin, garlic, and ají panca (dried chili). You will find them served with a boiled potato or bread at the end of the skewer.

Originally, antichuchos are made with beef heart, but I am not eating that, so I’ ll just use chicken. The marinade is made in a form of a paste, by combining red wine vinegar, garlic, aji panca, ground cumin, ground pepper, finely chopped fresh parsley, and finely chopped fresh cilantro, all mixed with olive oil. The meat should not spend more than about half an hour in the marinade because the vinegar will dry it. Reserve the marinade to brush over the skewers during cooking. When close to done (they should be medium-cooked), cover the skewers in the marinade generously. This will flame them and give them their distinctive taste. You can place corn and potatoes on the grill to cook at the same time, also flamed using the same marinade. Serve warm!

Souvlaki Chicken Appetizer Recipe

Souvlaki, also known as Kalamaki or gyros, is the Greek version of skewered meat. The meat can be grilled with or without vegetables and, similar to the Jujeh kebab, it is served with grilled bread or fried potatoes. Very often they are deconstructed and placed in a pita wrap and complemented with various spices and sauces.

There is a great recipe called Grilled Chicken Souvlaki Salad, which combines a Greek-twist chicken appetizers recipe with another staple of the Greek cuisine – Greek salad. The chicken is marinated for minimum 30 minutes (it is best if you leave it overnight). The marinade contains olive oil, lemon juice and zest, chopped garlic, yogurt, oregano, salt, and pepper.

A standard Greek salad is made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese (crumbled or cubed). This variation also involves lettuce and a dressing. The dressing can be 1/4 cup creamy feta or dill dressing, but to remain closer to the original, cover in tzatziki sauce.

Here is a simple recipe for tzatziki: 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup peeled and grated cucumber (drain before use), 1 clove garlic, crushed, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice plus salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge before use. A perfect dish for hot summer days!

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