Chicken hearts with a sticky Taiwanese basting sauce

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Offal, you either like it or you don’t. I grew up enjoying giblets and my favourite is the chicken heart. I truly enjoy the unique textures and flavours. Hearts are nothing but specialised muscles with more nutrition (like most organs) over regular animal parts. You can think of them as a different type of dark meat with an interesting texture. Rich in taste taste but texture-wise, they’re more tender and chewier, not too far off from dark/red meat. You can buy them from local butcheries, maybe not at the high-end supermarkets – I do encourage you to try them if you’re not squeemish – if you eat meat, why waste the rest of the animal? #wastenot

Chicken hearts are high in protein, thiamine, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10 and B vitamins (especially B12). I won’t go into too much detail, you can find out more about why you should be eating chicken hearts here.

In South Africa, chicken hearts are quite accessible as they’re not commonly eaten but there is a deep fondness for offal by those whose food culture comes from a humble background. I posted a picture of the chicken heart skewers below on social media and there was a shared love for it from a variety of local cultures. I’ve seen them all over the street food night markets of Taiwan, and I hear they’re quite a popular snack in Brazil too.

These are sticky chicken hearts, skewered and basted with Taiwanese BBQ sauce, soya sauce, honey, chilli and white sesame on a typical South African braai.

Sticky chicken heart skewers on the Braai

5 regular skewers of chicken hearts | 15 minutes (prep and grill)

  • Get a pack of chicken hearts (you may find them prepackaged and frozen)

Ingredients for basting sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp of Bullhead Taiwanese BBQ sauce (aka 羊肉燴飯 Sacha sauce – please see what it looks like here)
  • 2 Tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 C soya sauce
  • 1 Tbsp light sesame oil
  • Handful of white sesame seeds
  • Chilli powder to season


  • Cleaning the chicken hearts would be a first. I don’t enjoy all the fatty bits, so I usually cut them off and neaten them up a little.
  • Fit them onto skewers.
  • Mix your basting sauce (adjust the ingredients if you like, I prefer them more savoury than sweet)
  • Grill for 10 minutes, turning the skewers while basting the sauce over the chicken hearts.

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