Tea-Infused Chicken Kebabs
In most parts of China, grilling is not a common method of home cooking. So imagine my surprise when I discovered Xian's huge open-air food court, where, especially on an average night, 20,000 customers are served! For this recipe, I use a brining solution (salt and water) with tea to make the chicken moist and aromatic.
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 inches piece ginger, peeled and sliced into rounds
6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
5 cups water
1/2 cup jasmine tea leaves
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
To make the brine, bring the salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, and water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, place the tea in a large, heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the tea and set aside until completely cooled, about 1 hour. Pour the tea through a fine-mesh sieve into another clean bowl, discarding the solids.
Add the chicken to the cooled tea brine, cover, and refrigerator overnight.
Soak fifteen 6-inch bamboo skewers in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain.
Drain the chicken, discarding the brine. Skewer each piece of chicken onto a bamboo skewer. Brush the skewered chicken with some of the oil.
Place a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. Place the chicken on the grill pan and cook, turning once, until it is no longer pink in the center, about 2 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves.
Transfer the chicken to a serving plate. Drizzle the sauce over the top and serve.