Char Siu Chicken Kebabs by 'Top Chef' Champ Mei Lin

Char Siu Chicken Kebabs by 'Top Chef' Champ Mei Lin
Courtesy of Pureety

The perfect cookout recipe with a twist.

A winner of the Top Chef competition is frying up one of Los Angeles' best hot chicken sandwiches at Daybird, a fast-casual restaurant on Los Angeles' east side. A blend of Szechuan spices and her own chili oil combines her travels to Nashville with her love of hot chicken. This dish is crispy and spicy and perfect for Instagram.

The chicken she's highlighting these days isn't just that. The grilled chicken kebabs Lin created are influenced by her childhood love of char siu pork. These kebabs will, however, require you to cook them yourself. In order to execute Lin's recipe, she has teamed up with the new company Occo to create the seasoning blend. However, this isn't just some big container of seasonings that sit in your cupboard and sit for months before becoming flavorless. With Octo, you'll be able to store individual spices in airtight pods similar to Nespresso while portioning out just the right amount at the same time. You'll have an easy crowd-pleaser for your next cookout when you combine these spices with pantry staples and a few fresh ingredients.

Courtesy of Lee Kum Kee

Siu mei, Cantonese for roasted meats, was my childhood food. One of my favorite dishes is char siu, also known as Chinese barbecue pork. In this recipe, I chose to use chicken instead of pork, but if you'd like, you can use pork as well. With every beautifully caramelized bite of these kebabs, you'll be licking your fingers after eating tender grilled chicken glazed with an iconic sticky-sweet Cantonese sauce.

Char Siu Chicken Kebab

  • 1 tsp. (2 pods) Cassia Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. (2 pods) Star Anise Powder
  • ½ tsp. (1 pod) Sichuan Pepper
  • ½ tsp. (1 pod) Clove Powder
  • ½ tsp. (1 pod) Fennel Powder
  • ½ tsp. (1 pod) White Pepper
  • ½-inch piece fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces (optional, to add to kebabs)
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces (optional, to add to kebabs)
  • 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp. shaoxing wine
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce (typically lighter in color, but saltier)
  • 2 tsp. dark soy sauce (darker and thicker than typical soy sauce)
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