Saturday, October 23, 2010

Recipe: Yakitori (Japanese Grilled Chicken Skewers)

When walking around any shopping district in Japan you would be hard pressed to not see at least one place that specialized in yakitori.  Some of these places will advertise their menus with lots of red lanterns describing each type of yakitori they serve, some will have display cases full of fake yakitori luring you into their establishment, and street vendors will just have an assortment of yakitori sizzling across their charcoal grills ready to serve at a moments notice.
Since less than 2% of the world population actually lives in Japan we figured it would be nice to be able to enjoy yakitori anywhere in the world right from the comfort of our own kitchens.  Even though yakitori is traditionally cooked on a charcoal grill most of us don't have access to one of these in our kitchen, especially one that is specifically designed for yakitori.  To remedy this we worked out a cooking method similar to the traditional method but using common kitchen wares and the broiler in our oven.  In Japan all parts of the chicken are used, including various organs.  The following recipe uses only the white meat breast, dark meat thighs and skin.

Yakitori

Makes: about nine 3oz skewers

Time: 20 minutes from start to finish

Ingredients
  • Tare Sauce
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 chicken thighs cut into 1 inch square pieces
  • Skin of whole chicken cut into 1 inch wide ribbons 
  • Salt
  • 20 10" or longer Bamboo Skewers presoaked in water for 30 minutes
Equipment
  • 13 by 9 glass baking dish
  • Basting brush
  • Oven with broiler
Begin by adjusting your oven rack so that the rim of the baking dish will be about 3 inches from your broiler element when its in the oven.  To do this you may need to put something between the rack and the baking dish to give it a little extra height, such as an upside down cookie sheet.  Remove the baking dish and preheat the broiler on high.

To prepare the skewers, begin by piercing a piece of chicken breast onto to two skewers by holding the two skewers parallel and sliding the meat down onto them, stopping about 1 inch from the end of the skewers.  Continue adding chicken breast pieces until there is about 1 inch of skewer left on the other end.  Repeat with the rest of the breast as well as the thigh pieces.  For the skin, start by piercing two holes with two parallel skewers at one end of a ribbon.  Fold the skin back onto itself so that the fold is about a half inch from the skewers and pierce the skin again.  Continue to fold and pierce the skin back and forth alternating leaving a half inch skin fold on each side of the skewers until there is about an inch of bare skewers on either side of the folded skin.

For seasoning there are two basic options, salt or tare sauce.  For salt, just sprinkle a little salt on all sides of the chicken on the skewer.  For tare seasoning, drizzle the tare sauce onto the skewer and use a basting brush to spread it around evenly.
Lay the seasoned skewers across the width of the glass baking dish carefully so that they are not touching each other.  Place under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes on the first side.  When the chicken begins to lightly char turn each skewer over.  Apply some more tare sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Check the chicken for doneness, the chicken will probably need about 1-2 minutes more per side.

 Notes: Two skewers are used as opposed to one so that you are able to control which side of the chicken is facing the broiler.  If cold water is added to the bottom of the glass baking dish before broiling a lot of clean up can be avoided.  Make sure it is cold and that a sufficient amount is present, otherwise it will boil away which will both steam the chicken as opposed to the desired grilling effect and leave the mess at the bottom of the pan you were trying to avoid. The amount of tare used is at your discretion and you can apply it at anytime during the cooking process or after. 

We like to keep some tare sauce in the fridge in a squeeze bottle and use it as a condiment, like ketchup or barbecue sauce.  Let us know your fun and creative ways of incorporating tare sauce into your everyday cuisine.

Here is an instructional video so you can watch us make the recipe above.





1 comment:

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