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Chicken Yakitori. Photo © Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

Chicken Yakitori

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 4 to 6
  • HEALTHY
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

"Korean-style horumon stalls are big in Tokyo," says Andrew Zimmern. "These tiny restaurants grill dozens of skewers with animal parts like udders, cockscomb, trachea, you name it. But even with conventional meat, grilling techniques like basting with fresh ginger juice are genius. If you're not adventurous, try it on chicken thighs."

  1. 1 1/2 cups water
  2. 1/4 cup kombu (1/2 ounce), broken into small pieces (see Note)
  3. 1/4 cup bonito flakes (see Note)
  4. 3 cups sake
  5. 1 cup soy sauce
  6. 3/4 cup mirin
  7. 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  8. 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  9. 2 bunches scallions (about 12), cut into 1-inch lengths
  10. One 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  11. Vegetable oil, for brushing
  1. In a saucepan, bring the water and kombu to a simmer. Add the bonito and return to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 3 minutes. Strain the broth into a large saucepan. Add the sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar to the broth and boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, soak 16 bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes; drain. Alternately thread the chicken and scallions onto the skewers.
  3. Finely grate the ginger into a small, fine strainer set over a bowl. Press the juice from the ginger; you should have 2 tablespoons.
  4. Light a grill. Brush the chicken and scallions with oil and grill over moderate heat, turning, until just cooked through, 10 minutes. Just before removing them from the grill, brush the skewers with the ginger juice and soy glaze. Serve, passing more glaze for dipping.
Notes Kombu is dried seaweed. Bonito flakes are made from smoked bonito or tuna. Both are available at Japanese markets.

Suggested Pairing

Oregon Pinot Noirs have juicy berry flavors that go nicely with the subtle sweetness of this dish.