4 Aug


The smell of grilling yakitori takes me straight back to Tokyo, and late nights spent in izakaya bars with friends and colleagues. Plate after plate of skewers would arrive – not always identifiable, always delicious. But however many I’d eat, it never seemed enough to absorb the amount of sake I managed to drink…

I usually make my yakitori with chicken thighs, but breast meat works too – especially if you allow a bit of time to marinate the meat before grilling.

(serves 4)

For the skewers

  • 16 yakitori skewers (or 8 bamboo skewers, cut in half)
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 4 skinless chicken breasts)
  • 8 green onions
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 2 Tb sake

For the yakitori sauce

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 3 Tb water
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  1. Soak the skewers in water for at least half an hour, to prevent them from burning.
  2. Cut the chicken into one-inch chunks (about eight pieces per thigh or sixteen pieces per breast).
  3. Trim the leafy ends from the green onions, then cut each stalk into six short lengths (approximately 1″ long).
  4. In a shallow dish, toss the chicken with 2 Tb each of soy sauce and sake, and leave to marinate.
  5. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. Thread each skewer with four pieces of chicken, each separated by a piece of onion.
  7. Place the skewers on a hot barbeque (or under a heated grill), and brush with the yakitori sauce. Cook about five minutes, then turn the skewers. Brush the other sides with sauce and grill until the meat is cooked through.

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