Best Basting Sauce for Yakitori

Yakitori sauce is the basis for a number of grilled chicken dishes. As you use and replentish the sauce all summer long, it’s deep flavor becomes richer an more delicious. Yakitori, Japanese chicken skewers, make great appetizers, snacks or are wonderful as part of a complete meal.Yaki: refers to the Japanese cooking method yakimono, which includes grilling, toasting, broiling, roasting, and pan-frying. The yaki cooking method could be generalized as high and dry heat—confusing because sometimes oil is involved, but remember that oil is not “wet.”
Tori: refers to chicken. Toriyaki can be as simple as chunks of chicken thighs threaded on skewers with negi (a Japanese onion that looks like a giant green onion). Sasami no Ume-shiso are breast fillets flavored with umeboshi (pickled plum) paste. Tori no Tsukune: are delicious golden grilled chicken meat balls. TebasakiGrilled Chicken Wings use the two-bone wing section, skillfully woven onto skewers. Yakitori may also be grilled chicken wings, cartilage, skin, or liver.
Basting Sauce for Yakitori
Yakitori: Tare

from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
page 405
makes 1 ½ cup sauce
  • 12 chicken wings (only drummets with the single bone are used in the original recipe,
    but I used the tips and the joint with the double bone which are usually used for tebasaki)
  • ¾ cup sake
  • 1 ⅓ cups mirin
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups shoyu
Broil or grill the chicken wings until they are charred over about half their surfaces.

In a medium pot, bring the sake and mirin to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the sugar, and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Stir to prevent burning. Add the shoyu and chicken wings, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. At the end of the cooking, the sauce will be thick and glossy.
Strain the sauce through a strainer lined with cotton cloth, reserving the chicken wings. Don’t toss the wings! Serve them hot or at room temperature.
Let the sauce cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for as long as a month. Reheat the tare before using it, and once every week between uses. Notice how rich and thick the cold sauce is?


7 thoughts on “Best Basting Sauce for Yakitori

  1. Tess, I love yakitori, the picture of your chicken wings made me instantaneously hungry… and I just finished lunch! :-)

    Very nice post!

    • Hello….I enjoyed so much your recipes and sharing them with friends.
      I am trying to make a wakame bouillon maybe you have a recipe to share with…
      I am going to try this new chicken one it sounds so good…will let you know
      All my very best to you and Thank you for all your sharings

  2. Pingback: Yakitori: Negima—chicken and onion skewers « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

  3. You have just completely changed things for me! Ive made that sauce recipe before, but I didnt know I could save it and keep reusing it. I used to put the leftover sauce right away into other meals in order to use it up completely. But this saving of it and improving of its flavor? Brilliant!

    Is there any particular thing I need to know when ‘replenishing’ it? Like does it matter if I add old to new, or new to old?

  4. Hi Sara,

    Just use it at least once per week, or if you aren’t grilling chicken, then just heat it to boiling point and put it back into the fridge. If you’ll be away for more than a week, then pop it into the freezer.

    Every once in a while, especially if you notice a lot of sunken “debris” strain the sauce.

    If you use it by dipping, rather than basting, then the flavor gets better and better. If it gets low, add water or chicken stock to the pan of yakitori sauce. Taste to see if you need more mirin or soy sauce, but most likely you won’t need to because the skewers will have added a lot of good flavor.

    Makes doing yakitori very easy, not having to make the sauce each time!

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