Barbecued Skewered Chicken (Yakitori)

We have Suya in Nigeria and Satay in South-east Asia countries. Yakitori is the Japanese answer to it. I have a book, it's called Masterclass in Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko. It's been with me for ages and I have not even use it once. You could tell it is so new because when you flip some of the pages in between, they still stick together and smell very new too.

This book has Emi Kazuko assembling 20 leading chefs and food experts with each of them offering three of their favorite dishes. Hidden in page 104 is a recipe for Yakitori or in English, Barbecued Skewered Chicken.

While the recipe only calls for spring onion (and a lot of them) and okra, I have neither in fridge and resorted to using assorted vegetables to clear my fridge. It was a good move. I low how the tomato wedges and onions are charred and caramelized making them juicy and sweet.

Give it a go if you're looking for something easy. You can easily half the recipe if you think it't a lot. It's the Taré sauce that is the real star of the dish. You can use it for other meats as well if you like. Taré literally means 'dripping' and is a general term for thickened sauces, for example, Yakitori Sauce and Teriyaki Sauce.

Yakitori (Barbecued Skewered Chicken)
adapted from Masterclass in Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko

For the Taré sauce:

4 tbsp Sake
6 tbsp Shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce)
1.5 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp castor sugar

Combine all the Taré ingredients in a pot and bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and set aside. I let mine cook down a bit before removing it from the heat.

For the chicken and vegetables skewers:

12 chicken thighs, with skin, boned
12-18 spring onion (scallions), white parts
24 pre-soaked bamboo skewers (15cm/6in)
24 small okra, trimmed
Lemon wedges to garnish
Sansho pepper and/or Shicimi (seven-spice chili) powder (optional)

Trim the fats from the chicken thighs and cut into 4cm square cubes. Cut the spring onions to about 4 cm or similar length to that of okra. Alternatively, chop all your assorted vegetables (I've used 1 tomato, 1/4 cucumber and 1 small onion) into roughly the same size as the chicken pieces.

Keep the bamboo skewers soaked in water until the last minute. This will prevent them from burning. Alternatively, wrap the ends of the bamboo skewers with foil pieces. It will not burn this way.

Thread 3 pieces of chicken meat on each skewer to make a total of 24 skewers. Thread 3 spring onions and 2 okras alternatively onto each skewer to make 12 skewers. I did a mixture of both, alternating chicken pieces with vegetable pieces. Grill or barbecue on high the chicken pieces for 3-4 minutes. Then turn over and grill 2-3 minutes until both sides are lightly browned. Remove from heat, one at a time, and baste with the Taré and return to the heat to dry the sauce. Repeat this process a few more times until all chicken skewers are golden brown.

Alternatively, half the skewers can be white-grilled ans sprinkled with seasalt instead of basting. Grill the vegetable skewers in the same way as chicken, but for a shorter time, 1-2 minutes on each side. Arrange skewers onto serving plate and serve hot, garnished with lemon wedge together with Sansho pepper.

I didn't use lemon wedge and serve the skewer over a bowl of piping hot steamed rice together with the remaining Taré sauce from basting.

makes 24 chicken and 12 vegetables skewers

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noobcook said...

I love yakitori, the sweeet sauce is so irresistible.

Quinn said...

I love yakitori too, so easy to make and looks so amazing, as if you've slaved over the griller forever!

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