Recently, I discovered that by adding coconut cream to barbecue marinade, meat becomes more moist and tender. More importantly, the meat stays moist even after it has cooled. I surmised it was due to the absorption of liquid, and it is, but it is more than that. Coconut cream contains a substantial amount of oil. In fact, if you boil coconut cream long enough, it will turn into oil with some toasted curdled cream — called latik in the Philippines — floating to the top.
The realization that it must be the oil that made the meat extra moist came after I used another oily ingredient in my marinade. Mayonnaise. There was this interesting recipe that had very few ingredients for the marinade but the combination made sense — mayonnaise, citrus juice, garlic, chilies and cilantro. I decided to try it, the chicken came out very moist and tender, and I easily made the connection with the previous recipe using coconut cream.
I have since tried the technique using cream, whole milk and sour cream and they all work. If you’re allergic to eggs or something, since mayonnaise contains egg yolks, you might want to use cream, whole milk or sour cream instead.
Below is the recipe for the mayo-marinated chicken skewers.
- Cut the chicken into thin slices about two inches long.
- Grate the garlic.
- Chop the chili.
- In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped chili, grated garlic, cilantro, and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add the chicken to the mayonnaise mixture and mix. Cover and allow to marinade for at least two hours.
- About 30 minutes before you intend to start grilling, soak the bamboo skewers in water.
- Thread the chicken with the skewers, four to five pieces per stick.
- Grill the chicken, about three minutes per side. No basting is necessary. Note that the chicken won’t turn very dark during grilling because the marinade is very light in color. So, don’t wait for the chicken to turn brown — it will be overdone by that time.
- Serve the mayo-marinated chicken skewers by themselves as an appetizer, or with rice as a main course.
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