Author Notes: If I had to eat one type of food for the rest of my life, I might choose the amazing array that is Thai street food. The bowls of noodle soup, the roasted finger bananas, the braised pork leg, the fried chicken! The sois (side streets) of Bangkok are teeming with food hawkers. Once I came across a vendor who was grilling a number of chicken parts, and, not speaking Thai, I pointed to a few different skewers, eager to experience a variety of tastes. Upon closer inspection when I got home, I saw that I had actually procured three of the same skewer-- all of them chicken tails. It wasn't exactly what I had expected or wanted, but I devoured them (all of them!) in minutes.
I love how I can plunk down mere pennies and walk away with any number of skewered treats: pork, fish balls, a tiny squid, chicken butts! This recipe incorporates chicken livers (which I will admit I love more than the tails) and is more "Thai-flavored" than you would likely find on the streets of Thailand, where the preparation is a little more straightforward. If you can't find palm sugar, a little brown sugar or honey will work just fine. Thai chile peppers are notoriously strong, so if you'd rather, use a slice of jalapeño or omit it altogether.
And if you were wondering, this is what skewered chicken butts look like:
Makes 12 skewers
- 1 pound (approximately 12) chicken livers, trimmed of excess fat and membranes
- 20 sprigs fresh cilantro, cleaned, dried, and ends trimmed
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled
- 2 teaspoons grated palm sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 small Thai chile pepper (optional), split down the middle
- Using a mortar and pestle, mash the cilantro (leaves and stems), garlic, and palm sugar into a paste.
- In a medium bowl, combine the salt, soy sauce, fish sauce, chile pepper, and cilantro paste. Add in the chicken livers, stir to coat, and let marinate for at least half an hour.
- Thread one liver onto each skewer. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium/medium-high. Lightly oil the grill. Cook the livers until they begin to char slightly and are slightly pink inside, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Serve right away and eat strolling down a bustling Bangkok soi.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Street Food