Making Japanese Chicken Yakitori

Category Japanese
Yakitori is a Japanese style of preparing marinated chunks of meat that are then grilled on a skewer. Chicken is a popular ingredient used in preparing yakitori. Recipes for this handheld street food can be seen below.
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Yakitori is a longtime favourite street food in Japan. It was one of the first things I had when I first visited Japan as a kid, and by far the best. Nothing really beats having it on the streets of Japan, but my family's recipe comes close. You can make this on an outside grill, as well as indoors. You'll love it either way...promise!

For this recipe, we'll use chicken breast, thigh, and skin. Yes, skin! The most sought after version! We don't let anything go to waste. :)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs
  • 10 green onions, cut into 1" pieces
  • cooking oil
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tsp packed brown sugar
  • 12-16 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 min

Steps:

  1. In a saucepan, bring the mirin, soy sauce, sake, water, and brown sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Cook uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half, for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
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  3. Remove all the chicken skin and set aside. Cut all the chicken meat into 1" cubes.
  4. Place chicken pieces onto skewers, adding some green onion slices as you go.
  5. Slice the reserved chicken skin into 1" wide strips.
  6. When placing the skin on the skewer, use an almost threading fashion, folding the skin as you pierce through it. This will keep it nicely intact as it cooks. Keep the skin separate on their own skewers for even cooking.
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  8. Grease the grate of your grill to keep the chicken from sticking. Set to high and place the skewers on, but don't overcrowd (cook in batches if you must). Grill for 5 minutes.
  9. Whether grilling indoors or outdoors, brush some of the sauce on the skewers. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
  10. Remove the lid and turn the chicken once more to thoroughly caramelize the sauce. Cook a few more minutes.
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  12. Transfer skewers to a serving platter. Brush with some more sauce, if desired. Place bowl of remaining sauce next to the platter.
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Yakitori is Japanese bite sized chicken pieces skewered, marinated and grilled with basting sauce. You can also use an assortment of other types of meats and/or veggies, but that will change the recipe title to "Kushiyaki".

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