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Yakitori? It is Japanese understatement.

Yakitori is chicken meticulously divided Japanese-style and grilled over coals. It offers an astonishing variety of visual and taste dimensions to sample at this relaxed outdoor party.

Each part of the chicken becomes a separate element in a collection of skewered foods. Dip them into a clinging, flavorful sauce to grill quickly over coals. Also skewer shiitake mushroom caps and ginkgo nuts to cook with the chicken.

Lean and light, this economical dinner invites a leisurely pace. Present a tray of skewered foods at the table. Guests choose from the tray and cook the foods on a tabletop hibachi (within easy reach of all) or put their choices under the care of the host, who oversees the hibachi.

Accompany yakitori with hot cooked rice; an assortment of Japanese pickles made from cucumber, onion, burdock root, daikon, or mixed vegetables; and clear soup to sip (made from a Japanese mix). For dessert, offer strawberries and sliced oranges with plum wine.

At each place, have a little dish for soy sauce; individual plates for yakitroi, rice, and pickles; a bowl for soup; and bring on dessert later.

The skewered foods take time to assemble, but can be put together a day ahead.

You can find special ingredients at a Japanese market or a well-stocked supermarket that carries Oriental foods. Buy extra giblets, if desired.

The coals for yakitori must be hot. Start with a two-deep layer of ignited charcoal briquets. To maintain heat, add about 8 ignited charcoals to the hibachi every 20 to 30 minutes (keep a supply coming from another hibachi or barbecue).

Yakitori About 10 dozen slender wooden 8- to 9-inch skewers Water 2 broiler-fryer chickens, cut up (3 to 4 lb. each, including giblets) Chicken balls (directions follow) 5 to 7 green onions 1/2 small green or red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded 4 to 6 large (3-1/2-in. caps) or 8 to 16 small (1-1/2-in. caps) fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms 1 can (about 6 oz.) ginkgo nuts Yakitori glaze (directions follow) or purchased teriyaki baste and glaze Sansho pepper, salt, and soy sauce

Lay skewers in a rimmed pan; pour water over to cover; let stand at least 1/2 hour. Rinse chicken and giblets and pat dry. Pull off all skin and cut into strips about 1 by 3 inches; set aside.

Bone breasts, thighs, and drumsticks; cut their meat into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. If necessary, cut thin pieces larger and fold to make this size; keep light and dark meat separate. Reserve odd-shaped scraps to make chicken balls; if needed, add thigh and breast meat to make 3/4 pound. Cut wings apart at the joints. Cut livers and gizzards apart where a natural separation occurs. Set wings and giblets aside.

Trim any large bits of meat from breast and back bones and add to scraps; reserve bones for stock, if desired, or discard.

Thread each piece of skin lengthwise onto a skewer.

Cut off and discard onion ends. Cut white portion into 3/4- to 1-inch lengths. Thread 3 pieces breast onto each skewer, with a section of onion, perpendicular to skewer, between meat.

Cut bell peppers into strips 1/4 inch wide and 3/4 1 inch long. Thread 3 pieces thigh onto each skewer, placing a strip of bell pepper, perpendicular to skewer, between pieces of meat.

Skewer each section of wing, running skewer alongside bone. Thread 2 or 3 pieces liver, gizzard, and heart onto each skewer. Push 1 or 2 chicken balls onto each skewer. Arrange chicken on a tray, grouping by kinds.

Soak dried mushrooms in hot water until soft, about 15 minutes. Rinse soaked or fresh mushrooms, gently squeeze out water, and trim stems. Thread a skewer horizontally through 1 or 2 mushroom caps. Place on tray with chicken.

Drain ginkgo nuts; rinse. Thread 4 or 5 nuts onto each skewer, using all. Place on tray with chicken.

If made ahead, cover everything and chill up to overnight.

To cook yakitori. Pour yakitori glaze in a narrow glass or jar. Dip skewered foods into glaze; lift out, draining briefly.

Lay skewered foods on grill over hot coals in a hibachi (see directions for coals, preceding). Turn foods to cook evenly; dip into glaze as many times as desired.

Cooked skin should be slightly crisp and browned; white and dark meat and chicken balls should no longer be pink in center, and giblets should look moist in center (cut to test); mushrooms and ginkgo should be very hot and well glazed. Total cooking time for foods ranges from 5 to 15 minutes. Season foods to taste with sansho pepper, salt, or soy sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Chicken balls. Finely chop reserved chicken scraps in a food processor, or small portions at a time in a blender; you should have 1-1/2 cups. Mix with 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sake, 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Shape chicken into 1-inch balls; roll each to coat in 3/4 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) or fine dry bread crumbs.

Yakitori glaze. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine 1-1/4 cup sake, 2/3 mirin (sweet sake), 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup soy sauce. Boil, uncovered, until reduced to 1-1/2 cups. Use, or cover and refrigerate as long as overnight.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1985
Words:895
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