Five Spice Sesame Skewers

  • Low Carb

Load your skewers, fire up the grill, and experience an ancient Chinese philosophical principle with our Five Spices Sesame Skewers. Five Spice Powder was allegedly developed to mirror the balance of the five elements in Wuxing, an ancient Chinese philosophical principle that explains the phenomena that the universe is composed of five elements – Earth, Water, Wood, Metal, and Fire – that balance one another harmonically. As a result, the Chinese believed this spice would help balance and maintain a good diet.

Our classic chicken skewers recipe features the Five Spice Powder with five melded flavors – sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty – to create a delicious balance that pairs perfectly with chicken. When combined with other traditional Chinese condiments like soy sauce, oyster sauce, and ginger, an incredible authentic marinade is created. After topping the grilled or broiled skewers with freshly toasted sesame seeds, the perfect crunchy additional touch to these flavorful chicken thighs will make these skewers a new favorite for the whole family.

Curious Spoon Culinary Team
Prep Time:
1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time:
15 minutes
Total Time:


Yield 4
  • 2 lb. skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1-in. cubes
  • 2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Oyster Sauce*
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Chinese Rice Wine or Dry Sherry*
  • 2 tsp. fresh Ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp. Curious Spoon Five Spice Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 tbsp. Sesame Seeds, hulled
  • 2 tbsp. Canola Oil

From the Kitchen

  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Small bowl
  • Foil
  • Baking sheet
  • Wooden Skewers
  • Gas or charcoal grill

What is it and where to find it?

* Oyster Sauce: Oyster sauce is a thick, caramelized, umami-heavy condiment made from reduced oyster extracts, sugar, water, and corn starch. It provides rich, savory, umami flavor with slightly sweet and salty-sea notes. The condiment is mostly used in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisines, but its use is expanding as more and more chefs discover the rich flavors it provides to dishes. It can be found in most grocery stores across the US in the Asian or international food section, typically near the soy sauce.

For more information check out this awesome article by Bon Appetit.

* Chinese Rice Wine: Also called Shaoxing Wine, this wine is designed specifically for cooking. It’s made from rice and provides salty, sweet, complex flavor.  You can find rice wine in the grocery store in the vinegar/oil section or in the international foods section. If you don’t have rice wine in your kitchen cupboard, you can always substitute dry sherry or Mirin (if you substitute with mirin, make sure to reduce the sugar in the recipe as it has plenty of sweetness).

For more information, check out this helpful article by recipetineats!

Notes from the Chef:

For a deeper and more authentic flavor, try using Chinese Black Vinegar instead of ordinary rice wine vinegar. This will deliver a rich molasses-like flavor to the chicken.

Make it a meal:
Serve with vegetable fried rice for a delicious meal.
Pairs well with:
Pairs well with a fruity and spicy Saison beer.
  1. 1

    Prep all ingredients and soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

  2. 2

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

  3. 3

    Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, rice wine, ginger, Curious Spoon Five Spice Powder, and black pepper in medium mixing bowl. Add chicken cubes to bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

  4. 4

    Spread sesame seeds evenly on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and toast in preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.

  5. 5

    Remove chicken cubes from marinade and spear onto soaked skewers, leaving some space between pieces of chicken.

  6. 6

    Brush chicken skewers with oil. Grill or broil the chicken skewers over medium-high heat until lightly charred all over, 2 to 3 minutes a side.

  7. 7

    Transfer to platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.