One of the highlights of any trip to Japan must be a visit to a traditional izakaya. Not quite bar, not quite restaurant. Izakaya are warm, cosy, happy places. The perfect venue to catch up with friends for a beer, sake or shochu or two. And share delicious plates of food. Gyoza, yakitori, karaage, sashimi, edamame and other regional specialties.
One of my favourite izakaya offerings is yakitori. Chicken thigh fillets marinated in a very special sweet soy, sake and mirin sauce. Threaded onto skewers with spring onions. Then lightly charred over a searing hot grill. Very easy to recreate at home. Here is the recipe I like to use. Always well received by family and friends.
Chicken Yakitori with Spring Onion
Makes approximately 20 skewers
1/2 cup Japanese soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons sake
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 kg chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
8 long green spring onions, trimmed, cut into 4cm lengths
20 bamboo skewers
SOAK skewers in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain.
MEANWHILE, combine soy sauce, stock, mirin, sake, sugar and pepper in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Allow to cool completely.
PLACE chicken in a glass or ceramic bowl. Coat with half the cooled sauce. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
THREAD chicken and spring onions onto skewers. Place onto a paper lined tray. Brush with some of the reserved sauce.
PREHEAT bbq or grill on medium-high heat until hot. Grill skewers, basting with sauce, for 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through.
SERVE with ice cold beer.