How To Make Yakitori

japanese chicken yakitori recipe

japanese chicken yakitori recipe Yakitori is a Japanese dish prepared with succulent pieces of chicken dunked in a delicious barbeque sauce and grilled over a hot charcoal fire. Yakitori is a popular street food very similar to shish kebab.

It is sold from take away eateries and street side food kiosks across Japan. Japanese people like to nibble on plates of yakitori after a hard day’s work and generally pair this tasty chicken dish with mugs of cold beer.

About Yakitori

Yakitori is not only prepared from tender chicken pieces but also from chicken organ meat. ‘Zuri’ or ‘sunagimo’ is the term given to yakitori prepared from gizzards. If you want to eat yakitori prepared from barbecued chicken liver you need to place an order for ‘reba’. Even the small intestines of chicken are used in this dish and a plate of grilled chicken intestines is called ‘shiro’.

Besides chicken, you can also use pig meat, oxen meat and even tofu to prepare a plate of succulent and mouth watering yakitori.


The origins of this tasty grilled chicken dish can be traced back to 1912. A small kebab shop located in the Kanto area of Japan served the very first plate of Yakitori. Back then, yakitori was prepared from beef guts, horse meat and even dog meat. Yakitori became an instant hit among the indigenous population of Japan because of its juicy flavor and relatively low cost.

Serving Suggestions

Yakitori is normally served with glasses of  beer or assorted soft drinks. Some restaurants serve yakitori with a bowl of udon soup or a plate of delicious sushi.

Preparation time: 1 hr and 25 minutes (Includes the 1 hr for marinating chicken)

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2


Rice wine or sake: ¼ cup
Low sodium soy sauce: ¼ cup
Freshly peeled and grated ginger: 2tbsp
Sugar: 3tbsp
Dried red pepper crushed finely: ¼ tsp
Garlic cloves minced finely: 2
1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces: 24
Green onions cut into chunks: 5 (onions)
Cooking spray


1. Place a small saucepan over a medium flame.

2. Once the saucepan become hot, pour a quarter cup of good quality sake or rice wine into it.

3. Next add a quarter cup of low sodium soy sauce, two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger, three tablespoons of sugar, a quarter teaspoon of finely crushed dried red pepper and two cloves of finely minced garlic.

4. Allow the ingredients to come to a boil while stirring them with a wooden spoon all the while.

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5. Continue cooking the ingredients till they have reduced to one fourth of the original amount. This should take approximately 3 minutes.

6. Remove the saucepan with the ingredients from the fire. Allow the ingredients to cool down completely.

7. In a large bowl pour the reduced soy sauce mixture. Now throw in the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with cling film and place the bowl inside the refrigerator. Allow the chicken pieces to marinade in the soy sauce for one hour.

8. After an hour, remove bowl containing the marinated chicken from refrigerator.

9. Take long skewers (10 inch in length) and thread the marinated chicken pieces and onion chunks alternately.  Heat a large grill pan. Coat the grill with cooking spray. Once the pan is nice and hot place the kebabs over it. Brush the kebabs with excess soy sauce mixture.

Cook the kebabs for four minutes on each side. Serve with mugs of cold beer.