Barbecued hoisin chicken skewers with smashed cucumber salad

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Shu Han Lee serves up her hoisin barbecue chicken skewers recipe with a refreshing smashed cucumber and peanut salad, flavoured with a delicious sesame dressing and black rice vinegar for a bit of a kick.

First published in 2018

We often associate hoisin sauce with duck, but this rich, sweet and salty sauce lends itself to all kinds of ingredients, both for dipping and for cooking with. I especially like marinating meats in hoisin. Here, chicken is marinated in a mixture of hoisin, garlic, soy, rice vinegar and rice wine – then skewered and grilled on the barbecue. It's served alongside a crunchy and refreshing cucumber and peanut salad. An ingenious trick I’ve picked up from my Chinese mum is to smash and salt the cucumber first; you’ll find they absorb the flavours of the hot and sour dressing much more effectively





  • 3 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of rice wine
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Smashed cucumber salad with sesame dressing


  • Wooden skewers 12
  • Barbecue


Cut the chicken into even bite-sized chunks, about 2.5cm. In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
Meanwhile, place 8 wooden skewers in a large roasting tray of cold water to soak – this will stop them burning
30 minutes before you’re ready to cook, take the chicken out of the fridge to allow it come to room temperature. Divide and thread the chicken onto the skewers, about 3–4 pieces each
Fire up your barbecue. As you wait for it to get to temperature, make the salad. Wash the cucumber and pat dry. Cut in half lengthwise, and crosswise into pieces about 10cm long
Place the cucumber pieces cut-side down, place the flat side of a large knife on top of a piece, and smash lightly with your other hand. The flesh should break down, leaving behind the watery seeds. Repeat with all the pieces, then slice diagonally into bite-sized pieces, discarding the seeds
Toss with salt and sugar and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Discard the extracted liquid and transfer the cucumbers to a bowl, along with the roasted peanuts
Stir together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the cucumbers and peanuts, tossing well to combine
Grill the chicken for 8–10 minutes until cooked through, turning often to get them golden and lightly charred on all sides. Serve with finely chopped spring onions and the smashed cucumber salad
First published in 2018

Shu grew up in Singapore and continues her nation's obsession with food in London, where she writes about food that's seasonal, British, yet Singaporean at the same time.

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