Monday, May 9, 2011

YAKITORI (Pan-fried Chicken Skewers)

I was shocked when I first ate TERIYAKI outside of Japan.  It was far too sweet!  It seemed to me that Western people had misunderstood what the real TERIYAKI dishes were.

The word of TERIYAKI consist of two words; TERI and YAKI, and they are translated into English as “glaze” and “grill” respectively.

Meat, fish and vegetables can be glazed with far less sugar or even no sugar at all!

Imagine that you’re making a reduction of wine.  The natural sweetness contained in wine is intensified when it is reduced.  Real TERIYAKI sauce is made in a similar cooking method, and the natural sweetness of Japanese seasonings – such as soy sauce, SAKE and MIRIN make the sauce thicker and richer.

YAKITORI is a TERIYAKI-style grilled, skewered, chicken.  It is delicious and a popular accompaniment for beer and SAKE.

The cooking method I am introducing here is very simple.  Rather than making the TERIYAKI sauce separately, I pan-fry the skewered chicken while cooking and reducing the sauce in the same pan – as you would caramelise onions with balsamic vinegar for example.

There’s no need to worry about burning the chicken in the broiler any more!

Ingredients for 6 skewers
10oz Chicken thigh, boned and cubed in 1.5”, 18 pieces
1 Japanese leek (NEGI) or 1 thin leek, white part only, cut into 1.5” lenghs, 12pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine (SAKE)
2 tablespoons sweet rice wine (MIRIN)
2 teaspoons sugar

Oil for pan-frying

Thread a piece of the chicken, then a piece of the leek onto a skewer.  Repeat one more time, then finish with a piece of the chicken.  Repeat for the rest of chicken and leek and prepare 6 YAKITORI skewers.

To prepare sauce, combine the sauce ingredients in a cup and mix well until the sugar has dissolved.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, then fry the skewers for 4 – 5 minutes on each side.

Add the sauce to the frying pan, reduce the heat to low and constantly turn the skewers until the sauce is think and syrupy, and nicely coating the cooked chicken and leek.

NOTE: Japanese leek (NEGI), SAKE and MIRIN are all sold at oriental supermarkets.  You can also buy SAKE and MIRIN at the oriental food section of your local supermarkets.

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE. 

Bon appetit! 

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