Photo by David Bishop
Chicken Yakitori is sort of redundant since the word Yakitori in Japanese means skewered grilled poultry. Traditionally, Yakitori can be grilled with salt only or with a sauce called Tare. Hence, “Yakitori no Tare” is griled poultry with tare sauce. We westerners just call it Chicken Yakitori.
Like BBQ sauce, Tare is often also served on the side for dipping. You can buy it ready made in a bottle or make it yourself. It can be used on any protein or vegetable sturdy enough to skewer and grill or you can also use it under a broiler or in an oven, for more delicate foods like flounder or ripe peaches.
For a deeper flavor use it as a marinade before grilling and continue applying with a brush or squeeze bottle several times during cooking. The basic ingredients for Yakitori Sauce or Tare are; sake, soy sauce, mirin (a naturally sweet cooking rice wine), and sugar. You may also add any kind of stock you see fit for your choice of food.
Great as a party pleaser, here is my recipe for “Yakitori no Tare” and suggestions for cooking and presentation. Don’t forget to soak your skewers in water while preparing the other ingredients.
- 1 1/3 cups soy sauce
- 3/4 cup sake
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/8 cup honey
Mix all the ingredients together and bring to a low boil for about a minute and let cool. Set a little aside for dipping. Use the rest for marinating and brushing while cooking.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 yellow bell pepper cut into 1 inch dices
- 8 scallions
- 8 6 inch long, thin bamboo skewers soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
- Using only the centers of the scallions, cut 16 one inch lengths of the medium green parts of scallion. Reserve the dark green and white parts for other uses.
- Alternate dark and white meat and vegetables onto soaked skewers, taking care to center the skewer in each piece so there is no breakage.
- Marinate in the sauce for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Grill gently over medium low heat for about 5 minutes each side, basting with sauce every few minutes.
- Check for doneness and cook more if needed. Cook until just done.
Serve on a bed of seaweed salad and garnish with blacks sesame seeds. Cold premium sake or cucumber garnished Saketinis are great with this dish on a hot summer day, or anytime.
Check out the link to my blog on the Huffington Post