Thai-style chicken dippers, served here with berries and a rice noodle salad with broccoli

Don’t be scared by the name — these aren’t the kind of Thai-inspired flavor that has anything to do with being spicy.  I love spicy food, but it’s not generally something I regard as the best option for kids’ lunchboxes, unless you happen to have a little chili-head on your hands.  And most of us don’t.

This chicken was actually something I dreamed up to try to approximate the grilled chicken skewers our neighborhood Thai restaurant serves, which our kids absolutely love.  I think I came pretty close with the marinade.  Their dipping sauce is peanut-based (and DELICIOUS), so I thought that for a school lunch recipe I ought to come up with something entirely different to avoid the nut issue altogether.  Luckily, after marinating my chicken in coconut milk, I had plenty leftover to play with.  L. and P. both loved the chicken and the dip; if you wanted to get really fancy, you could wrap the chicken with some vegetables in a rice paper wrapper and serve the dip with that.

Thai-Style Chicken Dippers

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt

Dipping sauce:
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup peach or apricot preserves
2 tsp. ketchup (yes, really)

Combine the coconut milk through the salt in a large bowl, whisking thoroughly.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Let the chicken marinate for 20-30 minutes.
To make the dipping sauce, stir together all the ingredients until fully combined.
Grill the chicken pieces for about 6-8 minutes, just until cooked through.  Serve with dipping sauce.