Anticuchos de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Skewers)


These Peruvian skewers are coated in a thick chile marinade that withstands the heat of the grill and clings to the chicken, yielding caramelized, charred bits.

Peruvian Chicken Skewers
Photo: Greg DuPree
Soak Time:
30 mins
Stand Time:
5 mins
Cool Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
8 skewers

Huacatay, or Peruvian black mint, is a member of the marigold family. It’s hard to come by fresh in States, but the jarred paste is smooth and creamy with notes of green tea; look for it online or in Latin markets.


  • 1/2 cup ají panca paste (about 4 ounce)

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang

  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 large garlic clove

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

Huacatay Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup neutral oil (such as grapeseed)

  • 1/4 cup red onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 3/4 cup huacatay paste

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (about 1/2 cup), at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped


  1. Soak 8 (12-inch) wooden skewers in water 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to very high (500°F to 550°F). Place ají panca paste, olive oil, vinegar, gochujang, tamari, cumin, oregano, pepper, and garlic in a blender; process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; add chicken, and stir to coat. Let stand 5 minutes at room temperature.

  3. Remove skewers from water. Thread 4 to 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer, leaving a 1/2-inch space between pieces. Place kebabs on oiled grates; grill, covered, until charred and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Serve with huacatay dipping sauce.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium. Add onion, jalapeño, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in huacatay paste. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

  2. Transfer huacatay mixture to a blender; process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add cream cheese, lime juice, and mint; process until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Suggested pairing

Lively South American red.

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