How To Use Sugarcane Skewers
Who really cares for skewers, right?.....Wrong! The Sugar cane Skewers have taken the culinary world by storm. I caught my friend who is a chef using these innovative skewers and just couldn’t stop myself from asking him about how to use sugarcane skewers. I was intrigued, still am and can’t wait to tell you about these yummy skewers that not only hold the food together but also impart its inherent flavors to the dish!!!
What are Sugar Cane Skewers?
Often skewers are made from wood like bamboo or steel and are used to hold food together when grilling or cooking.
Sugar cane skewers are exactly what the name suggests; skewers made from sugarcane. The use of this sweet skewer is quiet common in many Asian countries and they are known to impart the sweet flavor of the sugar canes sugary sap to the food.
How to Use Sugar Cane Skewers
You can either buy readymade sugar cane skewers or make them at home.
If you are making your sugarcane skewers at home then look for sugar canes in the department store that are light-green-fading -to- yellow- colored and are dappled with reddish-brown patches. They might be sold in one-foot sections or six-foot sections. When you pick them up ensure that they are not white and do not have cracks or blackened areas. The best skewers come from sugarcanes with joints that are three to five inches in length. You can also pick up thin and heavy canes as they tend to be sweeter than thicker ones. To further check if they are good, cut the end of the cane and see if it has off-white and moist flesh. If the flesh is dry and brown or red, don’t pick them up.
Now wash the sugar cane stalk with cold water and then using a chef's knife, cut the stalk crosswise, at a joint. Ensure that the size of the sections you cut out is similar to the size of a normal skewer. Depending on the girth of the sugarcane, you will get at least close to four skewers. Don't remove the bark as it adds color to the skewer and also keeps it strong. Using a knife sharpen the ends of the skewer to points.
You can buy sugar cane skewers in the frozen food aisle and in the canned food aisle at Asian markets or you can go for fresh sugar canes and make the sugar cane skewers from them. Wash these before use.
Once you have got your clean sugar cane skewers ready, pick one of them up and hold them vertically on a plate such that sharp ends are facing upward.
Pick up a food piece that has to be skewered and push it down the sharp tip of the skewer, all the way down, until just 1/2 to 1 inch is left behind. You can skewer square pieces of chicken, beef, fish, fruit or even shrimp, provided they are an approximate 2 inches in size. Add more pieces to the skewer, ensuring that each piece touches the other. Leave 1/2 or 1 inch space on the top of the skewer.
You can grill the skewer or cook it in a pan while basting it or even in the oven. The cooking temperature will depend on the type of food used.
You can use skewers to prepare delicious grilled shrimp kebab or a famous Vietnamese dish called chao tom where a shrimp paste is molded onto the cane skewers. You can also use seasoned ground pork or beef in the same way. You can use cane skewers to hold scallops, squids or chunks of chicken or rib-eye steak. In Hawaii, Tuna and mango kebabs are also skewered. There is a restaurant in Queensland, Australia, that serves grilled crocodile on sugar cane and serves it with a chili jam. You can also use sugar cane sticks to dip strawberries in chocolates to make strawberry fondue. Sugar Cane Skewers can be used to grill fruits like mango and pineapple and this can be served on top of a vanilla ice cream to make an impressive dessert.
Tips & Warnings
Use your sugar cane skewers immediately and avoid storing them. If you do have to store them then wrap them completely (including the ends) with plastic wraps and store them in the bottom section of the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for close to two weeks.
You don’t have to soak your sugar cane skewers like other skewers.
Sugar cane skewers can also be used as swizzle sticks in drinks. Adorn them with a piece of lemon or pineapple.
Frozen skewers work wonderfully when used with fibrous meats and fish