Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Basil Friedman
YieldsMakes 8 appetizer servings
These charcoal-grilled chicken skewers are a popular street food throughout Japan; there, the chicken may be joined by chicken gizzards and hard-boiled quail eggs. The sauce also works well on pork, fish, or beef. Prep and Cook Time: 35 minutes, plus at least 1 hour to marinate. Notes: You will need 8 wooden or metal skewers (10 in.) for this recipe; if using wooden, soak 30 minutes.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

In a medium saucepan, combine mirin, sake, sugar, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until sugar has dissolved and sauce has thickened slightly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Step 2
2

Put chicken in a large bowl, pour marinade over it, and turn to coat. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

Step 3
3

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium heat (350° to 450°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds). Thread chicken onto skewers. Transfer marinade to a small saucepan and boil over high heat until it has the consistency of barbecue sauce, about 15 minutes.

Step 4
4

Grill skewers (cover if using gas), basting with thickened marinade and turning frequently to prevent scorching, until chicken is caramelized and no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 6 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Step 5
5

Note: Nutritional analysis is per skewer.

Ingredients

 1 cup mirin
 1/3 cup sake (rice wine)
 1/2 cup superfine sugar
 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
 2 teaspoons minced garlic
 1/4 cup soy sauce
 2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces

Directions

Step 1
1

In a medium saucepan, combine mirin, sake, sugar, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until sugar has dissolved and sauce has thickened slightly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Step 2
2

Put chicken in a large bowl, pour marinade over it, and turn to coat. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

Step 3
3

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium heat (350° to 450°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds). Thread chicken onto skewers. Transfer marinade to a small saucepan and boil over high heat until it has the consistency of barbecue sauce, about 15 minutes.

Step 4
4

Grill skewers (cover if using gas), basting with thickened marinade and turning frequently to prevent scorching, until chicken is caramelized and no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 6 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Step 5
5

Note: Nutritional analysis is per skewer.

Yakitori