Grilled grapes provide a sweet counterpoint to the savory of spiced chicken skewers. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Grilled grapes provide a sweet counterpoint to the savory of spiced chicken skewers. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

The two-step secret to 20-minute chicken on a stick

By Ellie Krieger / The Washington Post

The accompanying recipe is the antidote to boring grilled chicken. It’s nearly as easy to make, but so much more enticing.

The key is to toss the chicken with a mix of dried spices — ginger, garlic, turmeric, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper — that turn the blank-canvas protein into something irresistibly flavorful and fragrant. No marinating time required.

The chicken would be delicious grilled just like that, but this preparation goes a step further by threading bite-size chunks onto skewers alternately with plump green grapes. Once grilled, the sugars in those grapes caramelize; the fruit takes on a deep, mellow flavor, and provides a juicy, sweet counterpoint to the savory meat.

It’s a dinner you can whip up in less than 20 minutes, or prep up to a day ahead so it is at the ready in the refrigerator when you want to cook it.

The skewers are finished with a bright squeeze of lemon juice and a fresh punch of cilantro leaves for a grilled chicken dish that is sure to elicit oohhs and ahhhs, instead of the usual ho-hums.

Spiced chicken skewers with grapes

These skewers turn basic grilled chicken breast into an irresistibly flavorful and fragrant dish. The meat is tossed with a mix of dried spices — no marinating time needed — then skewered with fresh green grapes that take on a deep, mellow flavor once grilled.

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric

1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into ¾-inch cubes

1½ cups seedless green grapes

2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral tasting oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Whisk together the ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper and turmeric in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat evenly.

Alternate the chicken and grapes as you thread them onto the skewers. (There should be about 5 pieces of chicken and 4 grapes on each skewer; you may have a few grapes left over.) Brush with the oil. Note: You’ll need to soak eight wooden/bamboo skewers for 30 minutes before using.

Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches as needed, cook the skewers about 6 minutes total, turning them once or twice, until grill marks have formed, the grapes have softened and the chicken is cooked through. Note: The skewers can be done on the outdoor grill, as well.

Sprinkle with the lemon juice and cilantro; serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 270 calories, 32 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 105 milligrams cholesterol, 210 milligrams sodium, 0 grams dietary fiber, 8 grams sugar.

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