Yakitori chicken is a popular bar snack in Japan. The skewered morsels of chargrilled chicken and the sweet, sticky yakitori sauce are just the thing to eat with an ice-cold beer. Yakitori bars in Japan are often packed at the end of the working day, full of people relaxing with a cold drink and some chargrilled snacks.

Japanese yakitori is classically cooked over small charcoal grills. Cooking over charcoal gives a slightly smoky flavour that’s simply delicious. The chicken skewers are really quick and easy to throw together and you can make the yakitori sauce in advance, so they’re brilliant to make for a barbecue.

If you’re like us, though, you may find yourself with yakitori chicken cravings at all times of the year and in all weathers! To that end we’ve created a frying pan-friendly recipe, so you can make your own Japanese yakitori any time. This version uses pieces of spring onion in between the chicken – they take on a lovely caramelised onion flavour as the edges char, which goes beautifully with the chicken and sweet, soy-based sauce.

Yakitori Chicken Recipe
Serves 4-6 as a starter

Vegetable oil
4 chicken thigh fillets (approx. 340g)
6 spring onions, white parts only

For the sauce
120ml Japanese soy sauce
120ml mirin
60ml sake
50g caster sugar

Equipment
Bamboo skewers

  1. Before you begin cooking, soak the bamboo skewers in water for around half an hour. This stops the wood from burning too much or catching fire.
  2. Then prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake and caster sugar. Bring to the boil and boil for 8-10 minutes. The sauce should be thick and syrupy. Set it aside to cool.
  3. Cut the chicken thigh fillets into approximately 1 inch chunks. Slice the white parts of the spring onions into 1 inch pieces (save the green parts to garnish if you like).Thread the chicken and spring onion onto the skewers. Start with a chicken piece, then alternate with spring onion. Yakitori are only small snacks, so aim for 3 pieces of chicken and 2 pieces of spring onion on each skewer. Continue until all ingredients are used up.
  4. Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the skewers leaving some space between them. You can cook them in several batches if needed. Use tongs to turn the skewers regularly until the chicken is cooked through and they start to char. This will take 5-10 minutes.
  5. Stack the skewers on a plate and pour over the sticky sauce. Serve immediately, with any leftover sauce in a dish for dipping.