NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

September 4, 2013

An easy grilled chicken you'll go bananas over

Most of us have a pretty limited banana repertoire. We eat them straight up, baked into quick breads, pureed into smoothies or sliced into either fruit salad, or some sort of breakfast food. That’s about it.

But a friend recently — if unknowingly — introduced me to the savory side of bananas, and I was completely smitten.

Latina chef Daisy Martinez loves working big, bold flavors into easy dishes. That’s my style of cooking. So when she recently launched a great new Web video series, I was eager to watch the first episode — a breezy walk through her take on fried chicken. I’m sure the chicken is delicious, but it was one offhand comment about a condiment that really caught my attention.

Banana ketchup.

Sounds odd, yes. But I’ll confess that I consider ketchup — in all its forms — to be a major food group unto itself. And I simply had to try Daisy’s recipe. Turns out it is easy to make and delivers an amazing sweet and tangy punch that blew me away. Think of it as the Hispanic equivalent of Asian sweet-and-sour sauce. It totally works.

I’ve now used this sauce on chicken in several ways. The easiest is to simply cut up boneless, skinless chicken breasts, saute them with olive oil and onion, then dump in the sauce, and just bring to a simmer. Serve this on tortillas, in buns, over rice or just straight up. But since grilling season still is going strong, I decided to create a recipe suitable for chicken on the grill.

CHICKEN KEBABS WITH CHILI-BANANA SAUCE

Start to finish: 45 minutes (15 minutes active)

Servings: 4

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

11/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into 1-inch chunks

11/2 bananas

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