Caribbean Chicken & Pineapple Kebabs with Banana Salad
A Caribbean-inspired marinade for these chicken-and-pineapple kebabs is flavored with pineapple juice, soy sauce, plenty of spices and spiked with rum. It’s moderately spicy from the use of jalapeño, but not nearly as spicy as the well-known jerk marinade, which uses the extremely hot Scotch bonnet chile. If spicy-hot is not your thing, leave the jalapeño out or use half. The creamy banana salad is a soothing counterpoint, but skip it if you like.
Yield: 6 servings
Active Time: 90
Total Time: 210
Marinade & Chicken
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/3 cup dark rum
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Creamy Banana Salad
- 1 cup reduced-fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
- 1/2 teaspoon dark brown sugar, or to taste
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 3 almost-ripe medium bananas, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Pinch of salt, or to taste
Basting Sauce & Kebabs
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup fresh pineapple pieces (1 inch)
- 1 sweet or red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- To marinate chicken: Puree pineapple juice, rum, soy sauce, scallions, jalapeño (if using), molasses, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, ginger, curry powder, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon and allspice in a blender until smooth. Place chicken in a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag, add the marinade and turn to coat. Refrigerate, turning occasionally, for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.
- To prepare banana salad: About 20 minutes before you’re ready to prepare the kebabs, combine yogurt, onion, cilantro (if using), mint, lime zest, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Gently stir in bananas and salt. Adjust seasoning with more brown sugar and/or salt, if desired.
- To prepare basting sauce & kebabs: Preheat a gas grill to medium or prepare a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill. (No grill? See Broiler Variation.)
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and stir in brown sugar and mustard; bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce is reduced by about half, 6 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, thread the chicken onto 6 skewers, alternating with pineapple and onion pieces.
- Grill the kebabs, basting with the basting sauce and turning frequently, until the chicken is firm to the touch, 10 to 16 minutes total. (If flare-ups occur as you baste, use a squirt bottle to put them out or move the kebabs away until the flame dies down.) Serve the kebabs with the banana salad.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Equipment: 6 (12- to 14-inch) skewers
- Broiler Variation: Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat a broiler pan (or a wire rack set on a large baking sheet) with cooking spray. Broil the skewers, turning once, until the chicken is firm to the touch, 7 to 9 minutes per side.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (42% daily value), Potassium (19% dv), Zinc (18% dv), Magnesium (17% dv)
2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 fruit, 1/2 carbohydrate (other), 3 lean meat