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Chicken yakitori

Chicken yakitori

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Yakitori is the quintessential Japanese barbecue dish, in which chickens are meticulously butchered into their component parts and precisely arranged in different ways on small bamboo, wood or steel skewers.

The chicken must be grilled over charcoal (even a specialist type of charcoal called Binchōtan is used) and it is usually served with a ‘tare’ or soy basting sauce, into which the meat is also dipped as it is being cooked.

A yakitori chef is highly respected in Japan (the Japanese do an excellent job of becoming highly specialised in the kitchen) but it’s okay, you can have a go at home with very pleasing results. It’s worth butchering the chicken yourself because you get to try all the different cuts, and pretend you’re a yakitori master at the same time. However, chicken thighs and breasts are easier and faster.

Ingredients

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Method

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1
Add all the tare ingredients to a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce by half until thick and glossy. Divide the tare into 2 bowls – one shallow bowl for dipping the skewers while you’re cooking them and one for serving at the table
2
Remove any skin from the chicken and cut into rectangular strips. Fold each strip, pushing a skewer through each side to create a domed effect. Alternate each piece of chicken with a section of spring onion and brush lightly with oil
3
Heat a barbecue for direct grilling. When the flames have died down and the coals are white, gently grill the chicken skewers, turning often. Once the chicken skewers are around 80% cooked, begin dipping them into the tare and returning to the grill to caramelise
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