Grilled Chicken Yakitori
My brother is coming to visit from Massachusetts today, so I thought I would make us a special meal of grilled chicken yakitori. But as I was getting things ready, he called and said that he still had to drive from Chicago and wouldn’t make it in time for dinner. Well, at least I was prepared and I had time to write about it on my blog and take some photos.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been searching it out more, but is chicken thigh meat becoming more popular? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was because I think it’s a good alternative to chicken breast, which I find very difficult to cook. I always end up with dry meat when I cook chicken breast.
Yakitori isn’t really a “special” food in Japan; it’s more of a street food or bar food. Yakitori shops will often serve all the parts of the chicken including the heart, liver, gizzards, skin and more. Of course, it’s always accompanied by lots and lots of beer.
One of my favorite things to grill is red onion and I like to cut it into big chunks.
Yakitori sauce is very similar to teriyaki sauce. The ratio I used was about 2 parts soy sauce to one part mirin, one part sake and one part sugar.
I had fewer coals than I thought, but this turned out to be a good thing because I wanted to keep the skewers far away from the heat so they wouldn’t burn. If the coals are red-hot, you might want to wait 15 or 20 minutes before grilling.
You can baste the meat directly over the grill or take them off to baste them.
Serve yakitori with a simple coleslaw, rice and a cold beer.
Grilled Chicken Yakitori
1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thigh meat
For the Yakitori Sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon sugar
1 slice of fresh ginger
2-inch piece of green onion or leek
For the Vegetables (your choice or other)
1 sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into large wedge pieces
1 leek, washed and cut into 1-inch crosswise pieces
2 tablespoons oil
¼ teaspoon salt
8-10 bamboo skewers, soaked in water
1. Heat over low heat the soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar. Add the leek and ginger. Bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes to let the alcohol evaporate. Turn off the heat.
2. Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Thread the chicken and vegetables on skewers, rotating between vegetable and meat if desired. Brush on some oil on the vegetables and sprinkle them with salt.
3. Grill over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, turning if necessary. When the meat begins to release some juice and is almost cooked through, remove it from the grill and brush on the yakitori sauce. Return it to the grill and cook until the sauce becomes dry, another 2 minutes. Baste one more time and return it to the grill to heat through. Serve on skewers and let everyone help themselves. If you would like to serve it with extra yakitori sauce, heat the remaining sauce until it boils for 2 minutes or make another batch of sauce.