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How to Make Yakitori – Grilled Chicken Recipe

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How to Make Yakitori: A Flavour-Packed Japanese Skewer Delight

How to Make Yakitori

If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, you’ve likely heard of yakitori, a popular dish made from skewered chicken that’s been marinated in a savory sauce and grilled over charcoal. In this article, we’ll teach you how to make yakitori from scratch, including the delicious marinade and sauce, so you can enjoy this mouth-watering delicacy in the comfort of your own home.

What is Yakitori?

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a moment to talk about what exactly yakitori is. The word “yakitori” translates to “grilled chicken,” and it’s a popular street food in Japan. Traditionally, yakitori is made by skewering small pieces of chicken onto bamboo sticks, then grilling them over charcoal until they’re crispy and charred on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside. The skewers are then brushed with a flavorful sauce called tare, which gives them a sweet and salty flavor that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.

What is Tare Sauce?

Tare sauce is a versatile and flavorful condiment used in Japanese cuisine. It is often used as a dipping sauce for grilled meats, sushi, and gyoza, as well as a seasoning agent in ramen soup and a braising liquid for meat.

Uses of Tare Sauce

One of the most common uses of tare sauce is as a dipping sauce for grilled meats. In yakitori, for example, the skewered chicken is grilled and then brushed with tare sauce to add flavor. Tare sauce is also commonly used with sushi and gyoza as a dipping sauce.

In ramen, tare sauce is the primary seasoning agent and the sole source of salt in the final soup. It’s added to the bottom of the bowl before the soup is poured in, allowing the two to mix and mingle. This creates a complex combination of flavors that enhance the overall taste of the soup.

Tare sauce can also be used as a braising liquid for meat. It adds depth of flavor to the meat and helps to tenderize it during the cooking process.

How to Make Yakitori: The Recipe

To make yakitori, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger

For the tare sauce, you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 scallion, chopped (use only the green part)

Now that you have your ingredients, let's get cooking!

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and thread them onto bamboo skewers, leaving a little bit of space between each piece.

Step 2: Make the Marinade

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sake (you can substitute the sake for dry sherry or Chinese rice wine, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Pour the marinade over the chicken skewers, making sure they’re fully coated. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.

Step 3: Cook the Yakitori

Ensure the grill heat is medium to evenly cook through. Remove the chicken skewers from the marinade and place them on a grill. grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until they’re golden brown and cooked through.

Step 4: Make the Tare Sauce

In a small saucepan, combine the mirin, soy sauce, sake, water, brown sugar, and chopped scallion. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced to one-third of its original volume (about 30 minutes).

Step 5: Glaze the Yakitori

Once the tare sauce has reduced, brush it onto the cooked chicken skewers. You can serve the yakitori immediately, or keep them warm in a low oven until you’re ready to eat.

Yakitori Ready to Eat

Yakitori Ready to Eat

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs for yakitori

A: While chicken thighs are the traditional cut of meat used for yakitori, you can certainly use chicken breast if you prefer. Just keep in mind that chicken breast tends to dry out more easily than chicken thighs, so be careful not to overcook them.

Q: Can I broil the yakitori instead of grilling it? 

A: Absolutely! If you have a broiler, you can broil the chicken skewers over high-high

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