These fiery Peruvian chicken kebabs (anticuchos) are an easy way to transform a simple, cheap cut of meat into something spectacular. Chunks of chicken, marinated in a hot and fruity yellow pepper sauce and quickly grilled on wooden skewers for a game day pleasing appetizer or quick, easy mid-week dinner entree with the family ready in minutes.
What are anticuchos?
Like most, I'm no stranger to kebabs but I'm very fond of these Peruvian chicken kebabs which are basically street food you'd likely find in the streets of Lima. I had them about 3-4 years ago for the first time during my first and hopefully not last trip to Peru.
My journey to anticuchos involved a journey from completing the Chicago Triathlon to the airpot to pickup kids, a quickchange trip from the airport to my house, then back to the airport for our flight to Peru all in a day. After a lot of burned calories we had the cab driver stop en route to our Lima hotel to grab food from street vendors.
- Chicken Breasts
- Garlic cloves
- Aji Amarillo paste
- Olive oil
- Dried Oregano
- Black Pepper
- Kosher Salt
Marinate the chicken
Place all ingredients except the chicken in a bowl and mix well.
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
Cover the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate at least 2 hours preferably overnight.
Grill the chicken
Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade. Sprinkly with kosher salt. Thread 3-4 pieces onto two skewers each.
Grill chicken kebabs on high heat about 4 minutes per side, brushing with the marinade the latter part of cooking.
COOKING CONSIDERATIONS AND TIPS
Peruvian Chicken Kebabs Flavor Profile
Despite their simplicity, Peruvian chicken kebabs are incredibly tasty. The sauce provides a slight kick with the chili pepper, but it hits more like a snare vs. a bass drum kick. Aji amarillo chiles are fruity so there is also a tinge of sweetness to go with the pepper. The garlic, oregano, and cumin combine to give it a nice aroma. The net effect of all is a very vibrant (in both color and flavor) dish.
- Make them as hot or mild as you want especially if spicy ain't your thing. In this case just forgo the chilis altogether or just remove seeds/veins.
- You can use any sauce recipe you like. The key is to marinate the chicken beforehand to ensure its moist when cooked through. And be careful to not overcook or else they become stringy and chewy.
- Use two skewers for the kebabs to make it easier to flip when grilling
- Soak the skewers in cold water for an hour in advance to keep the wood from burning during cooking.
- Feel free to substitute other meats including shrimp, fish, and lamb. If using fish choose thicker and firm types.
make Peruvian chicken skewers
If you make these anticuchos, come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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- 2 chicken breast fillets cut into bite sized pieces
- Kosher salt
- Yellow Pepper Marinade
Yellow Pepper Marinade Ingredients
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste store bought or homemade
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ black pepper
(Optional) Homemade Aji Amarillo Paste Ingredients
- 6-8 aji amarillo chiles (stemmed and deseeded) substitute 2 habanero and 1 large yellow bell pepper
- 3 tablespoon vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
Aji Amarillo Paste Instructions
- Place chiles in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until ajis are soft. Strain ajis and place in blender and add other ingredients. Blend to form a creamy paste. Strain in a mesh sieve.
Yellow Pepper Marinade Instructions
- Place all ingredients in bowl and mix well
Chicken Kebabs Instructions
- Marinate chicken in yellow pepper marinade for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove pieces from marinade. Sprinkle with salt. Thread 3-4 pieces onto two skewers each.
- Grill chicken kebabs on high heat about 4 minutes per side, brushing with the marinade.