Korean style Papaya & Sesame Chicken Kebabs

by. Dr. Hennie Fisher

This recipe celebrates the wonderful flavours of Korean cooking, namely ginger, soy and sesame. Adding papaya to this mix creates winning flavour combination to spice up chicken cooked on the braai.

Cooking chicken from raw on the braai is not always easy. Whole chickens in particular may need to be cooked in a kettle braai to ensure the chicken is cooked through. There are all sorts of tricks to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked but not burned by the flames, such as pre-cooking the chicken. However, these methods do limit the sensory pleasure one gets from chicken fully cooked on the braai from raw – it should be crusty and golden on the outside, with a nice crisp skin, juicy and moist inside. Another idea that requires a little more effort but is also relatively inexpensive, is to use lesser cuts of chicken such as the wings. Since they are much thinner, they do not need such a long time to cook. To minimise the waste of the chicken tip or pinion that is discarded, freeze and use them to make a nice broth somewhere down the line.

Because the basting in this recipe is slightly red in colour, check carefully that the chicken is properly cooked in strong light. In the same vein, because the basting contains sugar that could burn easily, it is better to only baste the chicken after it has been cooked through.

Ingredients for 6 generous kebabs (but one may need double the ingredients for two kebabs per person):

1,2 kg chicken wings, pinion removed and cut into two joints at the natural joint section
30 ml soy sauce
60 ml dark sesame oil
55 g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

For the basting:
90 g papaya
50 ml lime juice
50 ml tomato sauce
20 ml Sriracha sauce (more if you prefer a bit more bite)
20 ml soy sauce
40 ml sesame oil
A spot of red food colouring (optional)
A small handful of toasted sesame seeds


Mix together the chicken wing pieces, the soy sauce, the sesame oil and ginger. Marinate the chicken for at least two hours.

In the meantime, blend together all the basting ingredients and set aside until ready to use.

String the wings onto metal skewers and braai them over medium coals, turning often. Towards the end of the cooking time, brush the papaya basting over the kebabs while turning them over a few times. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.