Japanese cuisine is popular among connoisseurs. Cooks and testers the world over have fallen in love with Japanese delicacies such as sushi, soba, ramen, udon and many other distinct dishes from the Land of the Rising Sun. A dish which is especially popular among Europeans is yakitori.

What is yakitori?

Yakitori (焼き鳥) means grilled chicken in English. It is served on a skewer grilled over a special type of charcoal and a narrow grill. This dish actually dates back to the ancient times – the first references to this type of grilled poultry can be found in books dating back to the 7th century. The idea to skewer the meat came about in the Taisho era between 1912 and 1926. Originally, the dish was a snack eaten by businessmen, and it was not until a little later that it became a common dish.

Chicken yakitori

Japanese chicken yakitori is always served accompanied by proper sauce. Every skewer contains pieces of chicken (in various combinations), vegetables and mushrooms. In Japan, it is a delicacy which is available relatively cheaply. Yakitori can be bought at places specialising in the dish, called yakitori-ya. It is also very popular during all types of open-air events, festivals and street celebrations.

Types of yakitori

There are many types and variations of yakitori. The Japanese experiment with the dish, adding their favourite vegetables, meat and other ingredients. If yakitori sounds good to you, you should give a try to one of its types, such as negima, or skewers with pieces of chicken and leek, momo – skewers with nothing but chicken thighs, reba – skewers with nothing but chicken livers, or tsukune – ground poultry meat shaped into little balls, served with eggs, spices and vegetables. Other types of yakitori include:

  1. Yotsumi – with pieces of chicken breast
  2. Shiro – with chicken small intestines
  3. Sunagimo or zuri – with chicken gizzards
  4. Sasami – with chicken breast meat
  5. Hato, hatsu or kokoro – with chicken hearts
  6. Toriniku – white meat only
  7. Tebesaki – with chicken wings

Yakitori sauce

Yakitori marinade is a special sauce made from sugar, mirin, sake and shoyu. A great marinade can be made from 100 ml of honey, 100 ml of sake, 100 ml of traditional soy sauce and a crushed clove of garlic. Yakitori meat should be marinated before grilling. Yakitori is usually served salty or salty-sweet. The salty type simply uses salt as its main spice.

Yakitori recipe

How to make delicious home-made yakitori? The dish is usually made step by step. The meat should first be cut into small, more-or-less identical pieces, and then skewered. Charcoal is usually used for cooking as it produces high heat and strong flames, while giving off very little water vapour. Common spices added to give yakitori its unique flavour include cayenne pepper, shichimi, Japanese pepper, black pepper and wasabi.

Japanese-style barbecue

Yakitori is a delicacy which is popular not only among the Japanese, but among fans of Japanese cuisine all over the world as well. It is a simple dish which can be quickly adapted to your particular tastes.

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