• Chicken Yakitori


Japanese-Style BBQ

By Andrew Zimmern

Traditional Japanese yakitori stands will skewer and grill all sorts of animal parts – udders, cockscomb, trachea, you name it – but if that’s not your thing, try this recipe with chicken thighs. Brushed and basted with ginger juice and glazed with the craveable combination of dashi, sake, soy and mirin, this Japanese-style chicken will be a hit at your next barbecue.

Chicken Yakitori

Total: 1H30M


  • 1  1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kombu (1/2 ounce), broken into small pieces (see Note)
  • 1/4 cup bonito flakes (see Note)
  • 3 cups sake
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1  1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 bunches scallions (about 12), cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • One 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing


Servings: about 16 skewers
Total Time: 1 hr 30 min

In a saucepan, bring the water and kombu to a simmer. Add the bonito and return to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 3 minutes. Strain the broth into a large saucepan. Add the sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar to the broth and boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak 16 bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes; drain. Alternately thread the chicken and scallions onto the skewers. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Finely grate the ginger into a small, fine strainer set over a bowl. Press the juice from the ginger; you should have 2 tablespoons.

Light a grill. Brush the chicken and scallions with oil and grill over moderate heat, turning, until just cooked through, 10 minutes. Just before removing them from the grill, brush the skewers with the ginger juice and soy glaze. Serve, passing more glaze for dipping.

NOTES Kombu is dried seaweed. Bonito flakes are made from smoked bonito or tuna. Both are available at Japanese markets.

Originally published on foodandwine.com.

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