From the Kitchen Window column
A staple of Japanese pubs called izakaya, these tasty skewers make great beer food. Try a variety of items – chicken livers, mushrooms, shishito peppers, head-on prawns — for an eclectic meal. This recipe is adapted from The Japanese Grill by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat (Ten Speed Press 2011).
Makes 8 to 10 skewers
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch-wide slices
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup classic yakitori sauce (see recipe below)
For The Skewers
Fold each slice of chicken in half and thread onto a skewer using a twisting motion. Each skewer will hold 4 to 5 pieces of chicken, covering about 4 inches of the skewer. Lightly season with salt on all sides.
Preheat the grill to medium high. Lay the skewers down in a row. Turn the skewers every minute or so to ensure even browning, for a total cooking time of about 8 minutes.
When the meat is lightly browned (after about 6 minutes), brush the sauce on top. Grill for another 2 minutes, turning every 30 seconds and brushing on more sauce with each turn. This will produce a rich, roasted soy sauce aroma.
Transfer skewers to a platter, drizzle with 1 tablespoon more sauce and serve immediately.
Makes 2 cups
Bones from 1 chicken, coarsely chopped, or 1/2 pound chicken wings
1 cup water
2 cups mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup sake
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3 to 5 cloves crushed garlic
1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, thickly sliced (no need to peel)
Preheat an oven broiler. Arrange the chicken bones or wings in a roasting pan. Place the pan under the heat. Broil until the bones/wings are browned, about 5 minutes on each side, using tongs to turn them.
Transfer bones to a large stockpot. Deglaze roasting pan with the water, then add the water to the pot. Add the mirin, soy sauce, sake, brown sugar garlic, scallions and ginger. Bring stockpot to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half and becomes glossy, at least 1 hour. Strain to remove bones and discard. Let the liquid come to room temperature before using. If boiled after each use, unused portion can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.