Japanese Chicken Skewers

So popular are these chicken skewers that in their home country of Japan they have whole take-out shops – or yakitoriya – dedicated to serving them. This version is flavoured with a classic soy-based tare sauce, a sweet sauce for grilled food. It’s traditional to cook these over a charcoal grill, and a barbecue is certainly the best way flavour-wise, but a ridged griddle pan on the hob will also give you pretty tasty results.

Recipe taken from MasterChef Street Food of the World by Genevieve Taylor, published by Bloomsbury, $45. OUT NOW

Serves: makes eight skewers, serves four
Time: 35 minutes     


  • 600g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 6 spring onions, cut into 2cm lengths
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the tare sauce

  • 100ml soy sauce
  • 100ml mirin
  • 100ml sake
  • 1cm piece fresh root ginger, finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons soft brown sugar

You will need

8 metal or bamboo skewers (if using bamboo, soak in cold water for an hour to prevent them from burning)


For the tare sauce, add all the ingredients to a small saucepan set over a medium-low heat and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer steadily until reduced by half in volume, about 15–20 minutes. Divide between two small dishes and set aside to cool. One dish is used as a dipping sauce, the other to glaze the skewers as they cook.

Dividing them prevents contamination from the raw meat as you are brushing with the glaze.

Thread the chicken and spring onions on to the skewers and brush all over with a little vegetable oil.

Fire up a barbecue until hot, or set a large ridged griddle pan over a high heat on the hob, then lay on the skewers. Take one of the bowls of sauce and, using a brush, glaze the top of the skewers. After a couple of minutes turn the skewers over and brush with more sauce. Keep on turning and brushing the kebabs with sauce until cooked, around 10–12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.

Serve the Yakitori chicken skewers immediately with the second dish of sauce for dipping into.

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