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Yakitori (Japanese Grilled Skewered Chicken)

Yakitori (Japanese Grilled Skewered Chicken/焼き鳥)
Yakitori (Japanese Grilled Skewered Chicken/焼き鳥) pictures (3 of 4)

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is having dinner with good friends at a Japanese izakaya or yakitori restaurant. The casual gastro-pub settings and the scrumptious fares offered at these establishments have had me hooked since my first trip to Tokyo many years ago.

My favorite items at izakaya are none other than the mouthwatering, hot-off-the-grill yakitori (焼き鳥)—assortment of grilled chicken and chicken offal skewers cooked over charcoal fire. Whenever I go to yakitori, I always request the seats right in front of the grill. I love watching the yakitori masters preparing the chicken skewers. They are ever so patient and dedicated, constantly turning and checking on the yakitori, using scissors to cut out the burnt bits, and precisely applying salt or tare sauce to the skewers. Their attention to details and perfection fascinates me to no end, and I reckon that’s the very reason why Japanese cuisine is so sublime…

Here is my version of yakitori, or Japanese grilled skewered chicken. While yakitori is grilled with salt or tare sauce (a sauce made of sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar), I opted for a two-in-one combination, with both salt and tare sauce. I also used dashi shoyu or dashi soy sauce instead of plain soy sauce. I really enjoyed my creation. If you like yakitori, do try out my recipe, they will be great for the upcoming summer parties!

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23 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Yakitori is the very first thing I ate on my very first day of my very first visit to Japan, and I’ve always had a soft spot for it. My jetlagged husband and I wandered out of our Tokyo hotel, and stumbled into a small yakitori bar. We didn’t speak a word of Japanese (except please and thank you), so we pointed to what someone else was eating, and in our tired state, it was the best food ever. And still is.

  2. I enjoyed living in Tokyo and Osaka and this was my fave food..thanks for this post that transported me back to those days and reminded me that I have not cooked yakitori for years…so this will be dinner tonight!

  3. Yum! A place nearby does yakitori and hot pot, they have somewhere around 20 different yakitori offerings!

    Will definitely have to give this a try. Thanks for the post

  4. Simon

    Looks delicious, now that the only authentic japanese restaurant in Oslo is officially closed due to low amount of visitors (very good chef btw). It’s now time to take things into own hands and make some homemade japanese goods. Seems like most people here want to visit the low quality “wanna be” japanese restaurants, owned by vietnamese immigrants. Not a problem with Vietnamese chefs at all, but 80% of the “chefs” are not even chefs. So Time to go ahead and test your recipes Bee. Keep up the good work.

  5. My husband is Japanese-American so we order these a lot at Japanese restaurants. You’ll laugh, but you know what I love almost more than the chicken? Those slender logs of green onions on the skewers, all charred to bring out their caramelized sweetness.

  6. arrrrrgh

    I think you need some more sugar than the mirin brings to the sauce. Thicken it up more and spike the flavor punch and contrast.

  7. I just made yakitori today following a Japanese cookbook. So in love with this skewered fare specially after trying Yakitori toto. I’ll try adding scallions in between the meat next time.

  8. Wendi

    Mmm. Even with a couple of substitutions, this recipe turned out fabulous! I didn’t have dashi shoyu, so I used regular soy sauce. And I didn’t have mirin, so I used twice as much sake and added a little sugar. Absolutely delicious and easy recipe! We will definitely be eating this again! Next time I’m at the Asian market, I’ll try to remember the dashi shoyu and mirin. But like I said, it was still really yummy! Thanks, Bee!

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