Yaki-Tori Recipe Secret

We have over-indulged in the yakitori this summer!

We’d been traveling up north when the daughter’s boyfriend visited us (first time for me, meeting him!). And the daughter’s friend from Chicago happened to be passing through town so we invited him for dinner. On the premise that the more is the merrier, we also invited my sister.

Keep in mind the fridge was rather empty. But the patti-pan squash and corn from the Farmers’ Market suggested grilling. This is how I discovered that even a small amount of the developed and well used yakitori sauce makes an amazing difference to the basic (though tasty) original recipe.

Yakitori: Negima—chicken and onion skewers


Summertime, and the winter myth we told the cats—that there is no outdoors—is unmasked. They are surprised with a refrain of unreasoning summer breezes, light, and scents.

They are old cats used to going outside. I resolved to keep them safe indoors, safe from the busy corner traffic and the neighbors’ unleashed dogs.

But Sula can twist Mr. Tess around her little paw. She cries and stares at the door so he feels sorry for her. First I agreed to let him take her out with a leash, but she likes to thread around bushes and soon became tangled. Because he was busy in the haphazardly fenced garden he removed the leash. So now he lets her outside whenever he’s out to keep an eye on her.

They are old cats who never wandered far. Only Sula has been indulged, but how long before the others? Probably it’s okay.

I prepared chicken and onion skewers in the kitchen while Mr. Tess set up the hibachi on the patio. If you look closely at some of the pictures you can see Sula waiting for an opportunity to follow her favorite person outside. She is even watching him as he works the grill in the dark.

Tare: Basic Recipe for Teriyaki and Yakitori Grilling Sauce


Grilling season has officially begun; I made my annual batch of tare (the base for teriyaki or yakitori sauce) using the recipe in Hiroko Shimbo’s book The Japanese Kitchen.
The glossy-sauce for skewered chicken is made by cooking mirin, sake, sugar, and shoyu until it is thick and shiny. In Ms. Shimbo’s version, chicken drumettes are included and simmered to make the tare especially flavorful right from the beginning.
We enjoy the soy-cooked wings when the sauce is first cooked.

Tebasaki Take 2

tebasaki_6097Yakitori bars are found all over Japan. Chicken and other foods on skewers are served with drinks. One popular version is tebasaki: chicken wings on skewers. The section of the wing between the tip and the drummette has two bones, a fatty skin, and a little meat. The larger bone might correspond to the radius bone in your forearm (your thumb side), and the smaller to the ulna. This is the section used in this recipe, with a bit of surgery not for the faint-hearted. I converted the pictures above after Mr. Tess commented that I shouldn’t put those gory pictures up on my blog!

Yakitori: Negima

don't grill in the darkYaki (grill) tori (chicken): Negi (onion) ma. This is a popular yakitori dish for good reason! It’s not difficult to make and it is delicious.
Two grilling tips:
• a metal bread pan is good for heating the yakitori sauce on the grill, and it’s easy to dip the chicken into the sauce. Just dip and shake!
• don’t grill in the dark. Being tired and hungry does not make a happy cook.

Yakitori Chicken Dumplings

Yakitori Chicken DumplingsThe idea of going to a yakitori restaurant in Japan and ordering a cold beer with a variety of yakitori-ya appeals to me. Have a skewer with some of these grilled chicken meatballs, a couple of grilled wings, a few nibbles of dark chicken meat and negi, a little taste of the livers, and some crispy skin; it looks like a fun way to enjoy Japanese food. Eating yakitori at home, especially when there are only two of us, means dispensing with the variety. Never mind, these chicken dumplings were both easy to make and delicious!

Yakitori Chicken Wings

Japanese Grilled ChickenYakitori: Tebasaki This recipe is first up because I used a bag of frozen wings to make the yakitori sauce with the drumettes. This recipe uses the other part of the wings joints. Cutting the little bones out is a bit tricky, to say the least. And I cooked more than the 8 called for in the recipe, so to be honest, I gave up after a bit. Also, I first skewered the wing joints lengthwise and then realized they should be done crosswise. The wings cooked sans bones and crosswise were better than the others—they cooked quicker, the skin crisped up, and they were easier to eat. But the others were just fine.

Yakitori: Miso-Marinated Chicken Skewers

Yakitori chicken skewersMichigan 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).