Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sweet & Spicy Thai Barbecue

sweet and spicy thai barbecue recipe

This is the third recipe I want to share from our "kick- off - to - summer" celebration. It's an Asian sauce that is savory, sweet and spicy. A sauce that is incredibly versatile: the ideal marinade and dipping sauce for whatever you like to grill. Me? I think this is the perfect partner for grilled shrimp and tofu.  Mr SSS? He loves this sauce on chicken and steak. I have bestowed on him ownership of the back left area of our grill - his section is the size of a postage stamp - where he can grill all of the meat and poultry his heart desires. The rest of the grill is reserved for seafood and plant-based foods. It's a 10/90 split. Marriage is about compromise, right?

The chef who created this sauce was inspired by a trip to Ayuthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand. He relates that there is an old Buddhist temple amid popular ancient ruins. At the entrance of the temple, barefoot cooks grill small bites of marinated chicken over open flames, providing visitors a mid-morning snack brimming with the magical flavors of garlic, chilies and lime. And I can relate that once I tried this amazing sauce {years ago}, I immediately gave up what we Americans know as barbecue sauce. Absent here are the familiar sweet flavors brought on by ketchup and brown sugar or molasses. Instead there is an exotic base of hoisin sauce, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce and honey. If you can tolerate heat, stick with the original recipe and use fresh serrano peppers. For a tamer version, use mild jalapenos.

Also on the summer barbecue menu:

Sweet & Spicy Thai Barbecue 

2 lbs of whatever {we did a mix of shrimp, chicken and tofu}
- and for the sauce
6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 T of fresh ginger, peeled  and coarsely chopped
8 serrano chilies, sliced {keep the seeds}
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 c cilantro leaves
1 T grated lime peel
juice from 2 limes
1/4 c hoisin sauce
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c fish sauce
1/4 c honey
2 T soy sauce or tamari
2 T cooking mild oil {I used grapeseed oil}

To prepare the sauce, place all the dry sauce ingredients in a food processor and pulse to get a diced consistency. Add liquid ingredients and process to a smooth puree. Transfer to a bowl.

Place your protein in individual non-reactive dishes. Pour a little marinade on top and toss. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Set aside the excess marinade to use as a dipping sauce {cover and refrigerate until ready to use}.

Heat your outdoor grill to medium heat. Transfer your protein from the dishes to the grill, shaking off excess marinade. Grill with the lid open until you have your desired doneness. Shrimp will be done first {about 2 minutes per side for me}, followed by the tofu,  followed by the chicken breasts {about 7 minutes per side for me}. 

Serve immediately with dipping sauce on the side. {Excess dipping sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. When cooking for 4, I have found that cutting the sauce recipe in half yields a desirable quantity. 

Serves 4.
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Source: Adapted from Chopstix.

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