Thai spicy basil chicken skewers make a tasty change from plain chicken ones. These Thai chicken skewers or kebabs as they’re also known are delicious. They go beautifully with a dairy free skewer marinade and cashew dipping sauce. This Thai street food classic also boasts a wonderful gremolata topping. They’re certainly very special!
There are quite a few ingredients you need to make Thai spicy basil chicken skewers. But don’t let that put you off! They’re not difficult to make and the wonderful flavour of these Thai chicken skewers or kebabs makes them well worth making. For these Thai street food inspired snacks, it’s best to get all the ingredients ready before you start.
What You Need to Make the Marinated Skewers
For the actual kebabs (not the gremolata topping, or cashew dipping sauce) you need several ingredients. First of all you need chicken thighs or breasts, or some of each! The marinade calls for coconut milk and a number of seasonings such as Thai basil, ginger, brown sugar, sesame, chillies, lime, and more. I’m sure you can imagine how amazing the flavour is going to be.
Brush any leftover marinade over the chicken skewers while they cook, but don’t do this in the final 5 minutes of cooking time. That’s because it’s been in contact with raw chicken. This just intensifies the wonderful Thai flavours. In fact this is one of the tastiest, richest flavoured recipes I’ve ever made on a grill.
What is Gremolata?
You might be curious what the gremolata topping is all about? What is gremolata anyway? Well, it’s an Italian seasoning mixture made with citrus (usually lemon), garlic and parsley. It’s great served with meat or chicken.
You can spoon it over fish, serve it drizzled on soup or stir it into risotto, polenta, beans, or pasta. As you can see, gremolata is really versatile! In the version for these Thai spicy basil chicken skewers, the gremolata topping ingredients are lime, roasted cashews, basil, and sesame seeds.
A Closer Look at the Cashew Dipping Sauce
Flavourful Thai chicken skewers or kebabs deserve a mouth-watering dip! I can’t get enough of this dairy-free skewer marinade. It’s a fabulous combo of butter, ginger, coconut aminos (sub soy sauce if you want), chilli, lime juice, and more besides.
Peanut butter would work in place of the cashew butter if you prefer it. In fact any nut butter would be good, as would sesame seed butter. Almond butter is another option. Just use your favourite kind. A smooth butter will give a smooth sauce, which I like. This cashew dipping sauce pairs beautifully with the Thai spicy basil chicken skewers.
Tips for Perfect Thai Chicken Skewers or Kebabs
- Soak your wooden skewers in water for at least half an hour. You definitely don’t want to go to all the trouble of making this Thai street food if your skewers are going to catch fire on the grill!
- If you can’t find holy basil (also known as Thai basil) you can use regular basil. I usually find holy basil at my local Asian grocery store and I love the taste. I use it in both the marinade and the gremolata topping.
- I love chicken breasts for this but if you prefer thighs those also work well. In fact, I might try making these with extra-firm tofu next time since that’s so good at soaking up flavours. If you try that, remember tofu has a much shorter cooking time than chicken.
- Use a gas grill or charcoal grill for this recipe. I love the smokiness from a charcoal grill.
What to Serve with Thai Spicy Basil Chicken Skewers
These are so flavour-packed you might like to have them with a simple salad or a couple of basic vegetable dishes. Rice is perfect with Thai chicken recipes or you might prefer bread on the side.
This dish is on the spicy side so plain boiled rice is usually my choice. A note about Thai chillies too – they can be really fiery hot! If you’re not into spicy food consider cutting down on the amount of chilli. You could even use a milder chilli such as jalapeno.
If you like these Thai spicy basic chicken skewers, you might also like Flavourful Red Curry Thai Coconut Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Zesty Tex Mex Chicken Pasta Salad, or Slow Cooker Greek Shredded Chicken Gyros with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce.
Thai Spicy Basil Chicken Skewers with Cashew Sauce and Gremolata Topping Recipe
Thai Spicy Basil Chicken Skewers with Cashew Sauce and Gremolata Topping
- 10 chicken breasts thighs, or both
- 1 Can coconut milk whole fat and reserve 1/3 cup of top layer for Cashew Sauce
- 1 lime both zest and juice
- 1/4 Cup basil leaves Thai or Holy
- 1/4 Cup green onion
- 1/4 Cup cilantro leaves
- 1/4 Cup brown sugar
- 1 Tsp. ginger grated
- 1/2 Tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 Cup coconut aminos
- 1/8 Cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 Tsp. allspice
- 1 Tsp. black pepper
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 1/2 Tsp. sesame seeds
- 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 red peppers Thai variety
- 1 Tsp. coconut extract
- 1/2 lime zest
- 2 Tbsp. cashews roasted and chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Basil Thai or Holy, chopped
- 1 Tsp. sesame seeds
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 Tbsp. plant based butter
- 1/2 Cup cashew butter
- 1/3 Cup coconut milk reserved from the chicken marinade
- 1 red pepper Thai variety and minced
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar packed
- 2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tsp. ginger grated
- 1/2 Tsp. salt
- 1/2 Tsp. pepper
- 1/2 Tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 Tsp. allspice
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1/2 lime juiced
- Open the can of coconut milk and reserve ⅓ cup of the coconut fat, set this aside, i t will be used for the cashew dipping sauce. Then pour the remainder of the coconut milk into a large bowl with a lid (plastic wrap or tin foil would also work).
- In a blender or a food processor, add all of the remaining marinade ingredients (everything except the chicken) and blend until smooth.
- Pour the blended ingredients into the bowl with the coconut milk and mix until combined.
- Remove 3/4 of a cup of the finished marinade and set it aside, this will be used later to brush on the chicken while it cooks.
- Cut your chicken into approx. 1 to 2” cubes and put all the chicken into the bowl with the marinade, mix together until the chicken is fully coated.
- Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to marinate, for 2 to 24 hours.
- When you are ready to grill, take the chicken out and thread pieces onto grill skewers, it is OK to pack them on tightly.
- Preheat the grill on high heat.
- Oil the grill grates then grill the chicken skewers for a few minutes on each side, each time you flip the skewers brush the side facing up with some of the reserved marinade.
- Keep flipping and brushing the skewers every couple minutes. When your chicken has completed cooking (165 degrees F) remove from the grill and l et rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the chicken with the Gremolata topping and serve with the cashew dipping sauce.
- Chop the Basil very fine, place i n a small bowl.
- Add the sesame seeds.
- Crush the roasted cashews into little pieces, add to the Basil and sesame seeds.
- Zest ½ of a lime into the bowl.
- Mix everything together with a fork until combined.
- Sprinkle over the top of the chicken before serving.
Cashew Dipping Sauce
- In a saucepan cook the water and butter until butter has melted.
- Turn the stove to medium and add the remaining sauce ingredients to the saucepan. Whisk together until fully combined.
- Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until i t has thickened. (This will take about 5 minutes).
- Remove from heat, serve immediately. Sauce i s best served warm, but can be served room temperature.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
If you’re wondering what new dishes to make this summer, definitely consider Thai spicy basil chicken skewers. The dairy free skewer marinade, gremolata and creamy satay inspired dip add so much flavour to the dish. It’s a crowd pleaser and really impressive too! So if you have a special occasion coming up and you really want grilled food, you have to try this!
Let me know if you try out these Thai spicy basil chicken skewers with cashew dipping sauce and Gremolata topping. The dairy free skewer marinade makes these Thai chicken skewer or kebabs a bit hit!
If you are looking for more skewer or kebab recipes, you might like these Grilled Pepper and Chicken Kebabs.