In Japan, they have the most excellent way to grill chicken over charcoal, resulting in incredibly savoury and fragrant chicken. Yakitori translates to grilled chicken in Japanese and is famous for serving as bar snacks in Izakayas during happy hour. To make this delicious and moreish snack, we recommend making this Japanese yakitori sauce. It is a condiment that is sweet, savoury and piquant all at once, with a gentle hum of umami.
1 cup mirin
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup dry sake
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 spring onions, pale stems only
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cm piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Boneless chicken thighs, approximately 250g per person
In a saucepan, bring all the ingredients for the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook gently until it has reduced in volume by half. The sauce will be thick and glossy. Strain the sauce and cool to room temperature before using.
To cook the yakitori chicken, prepare the charcoal at least an hour before you wish to cook your meat. We prefer using a charcoal chimney to evenly and quickly heat up the charcoal.
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces then season with salt and pepper. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, allowing for the meat to be evenly spread across each skewer.
When the charcoal is ready, cook the chicken skewers over the hot coals, moving about from time to time as they cook. A fan is useful to gently stoke the coals as the meat cooks.
When golden and cooked through, brush with yakitori sauce. Serve immediately.
We like to enjoy Japanese yakitori either as a pre-dinner snack with an ice cold beer or generously served for dinner. Serve the grilled yakitori chicken with sticky rice and spiced pickles for a deliciously light and savoury dinner.
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