Michigan has been quite cool for May so the cold loving daffodils and tulips have stayed fresh and pretty for a long time, and the sun makes me want to start summer grilling. Yakitori! Japanese food’s version of kebobs!
Kushiyaki is the general term for food grilled on a skewer: tofu, vegetables, seafood, or beef; all sorts of tasty tid-bits—I’ve even seen umeboshi stuffed with cheese! Yakitori is chicken on skewers. “Tori” refers to chicken (perhaps the general word for “bird?”). “Yaki” refers to the method of cooking: usually grilling or pan-frying (and sometimes to broil or bake). Kushiyaki may be flavored, marinated, or served with salt, lemon, miso, or tare sauce. Sometimes the skewered food is coated with panko, deep-fried and then grilled. Terriyaki is food grilled with tare sauce.
Confused? Me too! I’m looking forward to a summer of exploring Japanese grilling to learn more.
Alas, the grill is still in storage. The little cat house still sits in its place. The cat house is for the benefit of our two adopted stray cats who refuse to become strictly indoor cats; they use it in the winter when we forget they are outside. It’s a peaked roof house made of corrugated plastic, insulated by a styrofoam cooler. Inside is a thick foam pad and a blanket. Cozy, but not a grill.
edited to add pictures of the “cat house”
I was lucky to find my old stove-top grill hiding in the drawer under the oven. Who looks there? Chicken breasts were on sale this week, so I was ready to cook
Miso Marinated Chicken Breast on Skewers
Yakitori: Sasami no Misozuke-yake
serves 4 to 6
- 3 1/2 ounces Saikyo miso (sweet white miso)
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons mirin (sweet cooking wine)
- 1 teaspoon shoyu (soy sauce)
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast fillets (or breast, cut into 1″ wide strips)
- Sansho pepper
- Soak 6 bamboo skewers (12, if they are short) at least 1 hour
In a small bow, combine miso, mirin, and shoyu. Add the chicken and marinate for 3 hours—mine went for 6 or more hours, and they were fine, though the marinade become quite watery.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe them with paper towels to remove excess marinade. Thread the fillets (or strips) on the skewers.
Heat a grill or broiler. Cook the chicken skewers, turning several times. 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with sancho pepper.
The chicken was served with rice-with-peas and miso soup with soba. My extra homemade soba noodles dried, and though they were very fragile, they cooked up very nicely.
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