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Tonight’s Dinner: Chicken Yakitori

Chinese chicken skewers can be a great meal thrown together in just a few minutes. All you need are the rest of the chicken thighs you have in the freezer, a sweet marinade and some scallions.

Chinese skewers are sold all over the place, from restaurants to food trucks to little push carts outside stadiums. And they’re made with all sorts of ingredients too, from chicken, to lamb to wild animal parts like trachea and livers. No matter how adventurous you are, the skewers are always delicious. The secret’s in the sauce. It’s that marinade that gives those skewers that Asian kick that tickles the tongue, but you’re never sure what’s in it. Well, thanks to Andrew Zimmern and your local Chinese supermarket, here are all the ingredients you need to make your very own skewers and have a little taste of Asian cooking right in your back yard.

Chicken Yakitori


  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kombu, broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup bonito flakes
  • 3 cups sake
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 bunches of scallions, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and kombu to a simmer. Add the bonito and return to a simmer. Remove pan from heat and let stand for three minutes. Strain broth into a large saucepan. Add the sake, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to the broth and boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile soak 16 bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes; drain. Alternately thread the chicken and scallions onto each skewer.
  3. Finely grate the ginger into a small, fine strainer set over a bowl. Press out the juice from the ginger. It should make about two tablespoons.
  4. Light the grill. Brush chicken and scallions with the ginger and soy glaze and grill over medium heat, As the skewers cook, continue basting them with ginger and soy glaze, turning every so often until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately, passing the soy glaze for dipping.

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