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4-8 servings


0 hours 5 mins


0 hours 10 mins


0 hours 20 mins
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1 Lb. Chicken thighs, skinned and bones and cut into 1 inch cubes

3 Oz. Soy Sauce

3 Oz. Mirin

1 Tbsp. Sugar

Cooking spray


1) Soak 8 bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and top with a rack.  Spray well with cooking spray.

3) Make the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a sauce pot on the stove. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes until it is reduced to about a third and slightly thickened. Put to the side.
4) Put about 5-6 chicken pieces on each skewer.

5) Using a brush, lightly baste both sides of skewers with sauce and place the skewers on the rack.

6) Place the baking sheet with rack under the broiler. The distance between the skewers and the broiler should be about 2 inches.

7) Cook for 5-6 minutes, then take the tray out and turn the skewers over. Baste the cooked side of the skewers with a pastry brush and the sauce and place the tray back under the grill.

8) Cook for 4-5 minutes, then take the tray out and turn the skewers over again. Baste the chicken and place the tray back under the grill.

9) Cook for a minute or until the chicken starts getting dark brown in spots. Turn again and baste again to get those dark brown spots.

10) Remove the skewers off the rack and plate them on a platter. Serve immediately as an appetizer or as a full meal with steamed rice and veggies.

NOTES:  This is a very easy and basic chicken yakitori dish.  Simple, delicious Japanese food at its best.  Known as momo, these chicken skewers use moist, skinless thigh meat.  While you can use breast meat, it can dry out easily when cooked on this fast high heat.  It just isn’t as moist as chicken thigh meat.  The higher fat content in the thigh makes this dish easy to make and hard to mess up.  I recommend thigh meat. 

The yakitori sauce (called Tare) is simply a sweet soy sauce that is used to glaze the chicken repeatedly during the cooking process.  I tell you to baste twice in the recipe but I’ll often baste an extra one or two times to build the flavor.  I like to use up that sauce and build up that flavor.

NOTE:  If you have extra sauce, boil it over high heat for a couple of minutes to kill off any raw chicken that may have been transferred by the basting brush.  Then you can pour over the chicken skewers at the end or drizzle over a side of brown rice if serving as a dinner.  

Ideally, these would be cooked over a habachi grill or charcoal grill so they would get charred in spots and get that smokey taste.  Growing up, we actually had a hibachi grill that we took with us camping.  It was small and could handle grilling some meats separately from our Coleman stove.  (I just had a flashback memory…lol).  They are really great for a small deck or patio too.  However, most of us won’t have one and because this is an easy preparation,  I have laid out how to cook these indoors in an oven so you can enjoy them year round.

This is such a simple recipe that is really considered finger food and works great as an appetizer.  But, if you want to serve as an entree, just add  brown rice and steamed veggies.

Japanese food is delicious and often has a simple preparation like this.  If you are using great ingredients, you’ll get great results.  If you like this dish, try my Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura, or my Japanese Spicy Soy Scallops.