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4.92 from 12 votes
Yakitori is a Japanese skewered chicken, cooked on a griller with either sweet soy sauce or just salt. You don't marinate chicken! Great for entertaining a big crowd as it is a kind of finger food. It is so tasty and easy to eat that you would not realise you ate so many skewers of chicken!
Yakitori
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Yakitori is a Japanese skewered chicken, cooked on a griller with either sweet soy sauce or just salt. You DO NOT marinate chicken before cooking. It's great for entertaining a big crowd as it is a kind of finger food. It is quite easy to make. In this recipe, I am sharing two most common yakitori - negima (chicken and challots/scallions yakitori) and momo (plain chicken thigh yakitori) with sweet soy sauce. The recipe also includes different method of grilling yakitori – on a yakitori griller/BBQ and using the oven grill/broiler.
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: chicken and tofu, skewered chicken, yakitori, yakitori grill, yakitori recipe
Serves: 12 skewers
Calories: 100 kcal
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 12 bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes (Note 1)
  • 500g (1lb) chicken thigh fillets , cut into 2.5cm (1”) cubes (Note 2)
  • 100g (3.5oz) shallots/scallions , white and green firm parts only, cut into 3.5mm/ 1½”
Sauce
  • 75ml (2.5oz) soy sauce (normal Japanese soy sauce)
  • 75ml (2.5oz) mirin
  • 1 tbsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Add sauce ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium or medium low and simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the quantity by about a third. (Note 3).
Making yakitori skewers
  1. To make momo (chicken thigh), thread around 5 pieces of chicken onto the skewers.
  2. To make negima yakitori skewers, start with chicken and alternately thread chicken pieces and shallots/scallions, ending with chicken. I put through 4 chicken pieces with 3 shallots/scallions but you could have 3 chickens with 2 shallots/scallions. (Note 4)
Grilling on yakitori griller or BBQ (using grill, not plate)
  1. The distance between the hot charcoal and where the skewers are placed should be about 5-6cm (2-2½”). (Note 5)

  2. In the case of BBQ, oil (not in ingredients) the grill.
  3. Using a brush, baste both sides of skewers with sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Turn it over and baste the up side (cooked side) while cooking 3-4 minutes.
  5. Turn it over again and baste the up side (cooked side) while cooking for 30 seconds or so.
  6. Turn it over once more to cook for 30 seconds or so. (Note 6)
  7. Remove from the griller and place it onto a plate. Serve immediately.
Grilling under the oven grill/broiler
  1. Turn the oven grill on to high.
  2. Line a large baking tray with aluminum foil. (Note 7). Place a wire rack on it and oil the rack (not in ingredients).
  3. Using a brush, baste both sides of skewers with sauce and place the skewers on the rack. I used 70cm x 26cm/14½” x 10¼” baking tray and I could fit all of the skewers.
  4. Place the baking tray under the oven grill. The distance between the skewers and the grill should be about 5cm/2”.
  5. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then take the tray out and turn the skewers over.
  6. Baste the up side (cooked side) of the skewers and place the tray back under the grill.
  7. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then take the tray out and turn the skewers over again.
  8. Baste the upside (cooked side) of the skewers and place the tray back under the grill.
  9. Cook for a minute or until the chicken and shallots/scallions start getting charred a bit.
  10. If required, turn the skewers once more to get the other side get charred.
  11. Remove the skewers from the tray and place them onto a plate. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

1. I used thin round 15cm (6”) bamboo skewers. But you could use a bit longer skewers or flat skewers. I find that thin round skewers are the easiest to thread the chicken pieces.

Soaking the bamboo skewers is very important. It prevents the skewers from getting burnt too quickly when grilled.

Number of skewers required varies depending on how many pieces of chicken and shallots/scallions you have. In my case, I had 49 chicken pieces and 24 shallots/scallion pieces. Because I made 4 chicken pieces with 3 shallots/scallions, I ended up with 8 negima (chicken and shallots/scallions) and 3 momo (chicken thigh) skewers. You can do any combination.

2. I bought thigh fillets which did not have skin on this time. But I sometimes use thigh with skin on which is equally delicious. You could also use chicken breast instead of thigh. Or a mixture.

3. Depending on the size of the pot, the time taken to reduce the sauce varies.

4. If shallots/scallions are left over, you could make a shallots/scallion skewer!

5. Depending on the griller/BBQ, you may need to adjust the distance/spacing as the temperature of the heat varies. The heat should be medium high to high.

6. I basted twice on each side but you can turn them over once more with another coating of sauce if you prefer a stronger flavour.

7. If you don’t line the baking tray with aluminum foil, the sauce will drop directly onto the tray and get burnt badly due to sugar in the sauce. Line it so that you don't have to clean the mess later.

8. Nutrition information is for 1 skewer assuming 12 skewers were made with equal distribution of ingredients.