Yakitori is chicken (tori) grilled (yaki) on a skewer. Almost any part of the bird can be grilled, but when other foods are grilled on a skewer, they are called kushi (skewer) yaki (grilled). Kushiyaki means “tidbits grilled on skewers.”
Here are suggestions for kushiyaki: hotate (scallop), ika (squid), sake (salmon), shrimp (ebi), shiitake (mushroom), unagi (eel), uzura (quail eggs), niku (beef) or buta (pork) or bacon wrapped around vegetables, seasonal vegetables… I’ve even seen references to cheese wrapped in a vegetable leaf or stuffed into large umeboshi or abura age.
I used my hibachi (from by birthday last June—the stainless steel table is no longer so shiny, and the firebox on the hibachi is no longer ash-free) with plain charcoal, started with dry apple/cherry sticks and wood. SkewerIt, a blog well described by the name, notes that binchotan is a special charcoal made from a type of white oak, which burns longer and hotter than my inexpensive charcoal. Apparently it can burn for hours, and perhaps not generate so much ash—worth looking for! We can also thank her for inspiring this recipe.
from Skewer It
Soak 4 or 5 skewers (6″ long should be fine, but I happened to have only long skewers…). A neat way to soak skewers is to put them into a glass or jar bouquet-fashion: takes up less counter space, plus you can snag one without getting your fingers wet. 20 to 30 minutes is long enough soak.
Select a fine young thin-skinned zucchini about 8″ long, 1 ½” diameter. Slice it into ½” thick rounds. Cut the rounds in half.
Skewer 4 to 5 semi-circles of zucchini per stick. I would either blanch these in vigorously boiling water then quickly into ice water, or I would stroke them with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. A sprinkle of nice salt wouldn’t hurt either. Husband liked them plain as I did here. I thought they were dry and not very tasty.
Grill until a bit browned. Eat!