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.
Yakitori 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!
Yaki (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.
The 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: 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.
It’s summer and the grill is hot! I’m on a quest to learn about Japanese grilling. To begin I’m making the yakitori sauce and in the process, making these delicious chicken wings.
Yakitori is part of the cooking method yakimono, which also includes toasting, broiling, roasting, and pan-frying. The yaki cooking method could be generalized as high and dry heat.
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).