These spicy Korean Chicken Skewers are marinated and then grilled to juicy, caramelized perfection and take just 7 to 10-minutes to cook on the grill.
Global street foods are a favorite in our house. Today we are on a trip to Korea with these Grilled Spicy Korean Chicken Skewers. Spicy and sweet is always a fantastic flavor combination especially when it’s layered onto grilled chicken tenders. This simple marinade caramelizes the chicken, leaving it tender and juicy with a hint of spicy heat.
What’s in Spicy Korean Chicken Marinade?
I started with a flavor base similar to my quick kimchi recipe adding some rice vinegar and sesame oil to thin out the gochujang paste . To that, I also added small amounts of soy sauce, minced garlic, fresh ginger paste, and cilantro. Cilantro may be omitted for those who do not like it or replaced with parsley. Sliced green onions are a great accompaniment and mirror the flavors of the grilled green onions we serve as a side with this dish.
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang paste is made from hot red chile peppers. It’s a thick, sticky condiment that’s spicy and very concentrated. Packages are usually marked with a spice level. The package I purchased was a “Medium” spice level of a 3 on the scale of 1-5 where 1 is mild and 5 is hot.
Where can I buy Gochujang?
Most Korean ingredients are very easy to get these days. You can find them at Asian stores, Korean stores, or in the international aisle of your regular supermarket. I’ve seen them as mainstream as the big box stores so make sure you check them out. Amazon is a great online option if you cannot find gochujang paste locally.
What can I substitute for the Gochujang?
Sriracha sauce is a good alternative to gochujang, depending on the recipe. However, Thai chili paste has a more similar texture to gochujang than sriracha sauce.
How Do I make Korean Chicken Skewers?
These Korean chicken skewers start with a marinade. The chicken can be marinated for as little as 30-minutes or up to as much as 8 hours to overnight. I prepared a second half-batch of the marinade to brush the chicken with as it cooked on the grill to really develop the flavors and colors I wanted.
What do I serve with Korean Chicken Skewers?
We served these Korean Chicken Skewers with grilled green onions, steamed white rice, and a super-easy shortcut kimchi.
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Grilled Spicy Korean Chicken Skewers
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons Korean gochujang red chili paste [See Note 1]
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce [See Note 2]
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1- inch piece ginger , peeled and minced ( or 2 teaspoons prepared ginger paste)
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro or prepared cilantro paste [See Note 3]
- Salt , to taste
- 2 pounds chicken tenders or boneless , skinless chicken thigh meat
- Prepare the marinade: Combine all the ingredients in the marinade in a bowl, whisk it to make sure the Korean chili paste (gochujang) is completely dissolved. Add the chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the Chicken: If using wooden skewers, soak for at least 30-minutes to prevent them from charring. Skewer the chicken being sure not to pack it too tightly which will create uneven cooking. Grill the chicken until slightly charred and completely cooked through about 7-10 minutes.
- Gochujang is a Korean hot pepper paste. It may be purchased at Asian or Korean stores and most US grocery stores on the International Foods aisle.
- Fish sauce may be omitted and replaced with an equal amount of additional soy sauce.
- Cilantro may be replaced with parsley or omitted altogether without substitution.