If you’ve never tried Japanese yakitori, you’re missing out on a delicious piece of Asian culture. This practice of skewering small bits of food and grilling them over ultra-hot charcoal is more than four centuries old. The term “yakitori” traditionally refers to pieces of bite-sized chicken that have been marinated, skewered and grilled over a scorching charcoal fire.
Today, Japanese restaurants have expanded their menus to include a wide variety of options in addition to chicken parts. In traditional yakitori bars, you will be offered a choice of two sauces – “Sho,” which is simply salt, and “Tare,” a sweet and salty blend made of soy sauce, sugar and sweet Japanese rice wine.
The cornerstone of a good restaurant is the quality of its tare. Some restaurants never empty and clean their tare pots; instead, they keep adding to them over the years, much like developing a good sourdough starter.
Chicken Thigh YakitoriPrint Recipe
- 1-1/2 cups of sweet rice wine
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed and finely minced
- 1 pound of boneless, skin-on chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- Bamboo skewers
- Prepare a charcoal grill with scorching coals.
- Mix rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and garlic directly in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Thread chicken onto skewers.
- When coals are ready, grill the chicken skewers on both sides without the sauce. When the meat starts firming up, brush on the sauce and continue grilling. Continue brushing on the sauce and often turning until done.