One of the first Japanese foods I fell in love with was teriyaki and yakitori. Yakitori actually just means grilled chicken in Japanese (yaki = broil or grill, tori = chicken), whereas Teriyaki means grilled & glazed (teri = gloss or luster, yaki = broil or grill). Teriyaki can be used for different types of meat or seafood, where yakitori is obviously always chicken. The sauces used to make them are very similar, with Japanese soy sauce, mirin (sweet sake), sake, and sugar as the main ingredients. The main difference between chicken teriyaki and yakitori is that yakitori is grilled or broiled skewers of chicken thigh or leg meat, whereas chicken teriyaki is whole pieces of chicken that can be either grilled or pan-fried. I made these simple but delicious yakitori when we threw a BBQ party on our boat recently. The only hard part is to cook the chicken just right: eating undercooked chicken can be risky, but you don’t want dry overcooked chicken either. I also noticed that in this preparation the yakitori flavor is quite mild, so that’s why I’m trying sous-vide yakitori later this week.
boneless and skinless chicken thigh (chicken breast has less taste and will dry out much quicker)
1 cup (250 ml) yakitori/teriyaki sauce, home-made or store-bought
Cut the chicken thighs into bite-size pieces, trimming excess fat if you like, and put on skewers. Grill the skewers until 80% cooked, turning frequently (every 30 seconds) for more even cooking and less risk of burning the outside before the inside has been cooked properly.
Dip the skewers into the yakitori sauce. As you can see it is easiest to use a long container for the sauce, so you can submerge the whole skewer when you dip it.
Continue to grill until done, again turning frequently.
And cook very briefly. Serve!
Yes we had matching wines with our 7-course meal on the boat… Gewurztraminer is excellent with chicken yakitori (also with other white meat or fish teriyaki).