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Spicy Thai Shrimp Kebabs with Chile-Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

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Serves four

Because shrimp cooks so quickly, it’s the lone element on the skewer. Tender Japanese or Chinese eggplant, also grilled on its own skewers, is the perfect accompaniment.

For the grilling sauce:
  • 1 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh jalapeño
  • 1 Tbs. chopped scallion (green part only; save the white part for the dipping sauce)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
For the dipping sauce:
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, ends trimmed, tough outer leaves removed, tender white core finely chopped (to yield about 3 Tbs.)
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. finely sliced scallion (white parts only), from about 3 large scallions
  • 1 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha chile sauce; more to taste
For the kebabs:
  • 1-1/2 lb. large shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and deveined
  • 4 Japanese or Chinese eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch rounds
Make the grilling sauce:

In a food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, jalapeño, scallion, salt, and peanut oil and process until well combined; the mixture will still be chunky. (The grilling sauce can be made up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated).

Make the dipping sauce:

In a small serving bowl, combine all ingredients and 3 Tbs. water; stir well. (The dipping sauce can be made up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated).

Prepare the skewers:

Thread the shrimp onto flat skewers or onto parallel skewers so the skewers are perpendicular to the length of the shrimp. (The double skewers should help to keep the shrimp from spinning when you turn the kebabs on the grill.)

Thread the eggplant pieces onto skewers so that the skewer is parallel to the cut surface of the eggplant. (Use two parallel skewers to prevent the eggplant slices from twirling when you turn them).

Grill the skewers:
Tip:
If the called-for ingredients cook at widely different rates, separate them and cook them on different skewers.

Build a medium-hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to medium high. Oil the grill grate. Brush the grilling sauce all over the shrimp and eggplant skewers. Grill the shrimp skewers (uncovered on a charcoal grill; covered on a gas grill) until just cooked through, about 2 min. per side. Grill the eggplant skewers until soft and nicely browned, 2 to 4 min. per side. If they begin to burn before softening, transfer them to a cooler part of the grill (if using gas, lower the heat a bit).

Remove the shrimp and eggplant from the skewers and arrange on a platter. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. of the dipping sauce and serve with the remaining dipping sauce on the side. (For the sauce, use one communal bowl or individual condiment bowls).

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 309; Fat (g): 12; Fat Calories (kcal): 107; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 38; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): 12; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): 1107; Cholesterol (mg): 332; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

The flavors in this dish are outstanding! I prepared these on an indoor grill (without skewers)-quick and easy. The dipping sauce was pretty chunky, which made the "dipping" more challenging. Next time, I would chop everything even more finely. However, we got around it by spooning the sauce over the shrimp (served on basmati rice). I would not change an ingredient-it was scrumptious. (Also, instead of fresh lemongrass, I used a Thai Taste's jarred lemongrass-worked beautifully). Can't wait to have this again!

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