Every time I eat at the local China Star buffet, I snarf down several grilled chicken yakitori sticks. I've always loved the way the marinated chicken thigh meat tasted, and also was impressed that it was always very moist and tender. I decided that this dish was something I just had to try to duplicate on my own grill!
It was obvious that thigh meat was used at the restaurant, but what was less obvious was the ingredients used in the marinade. I could taste soy sauce and garlic, and just a hint of toasted sesame oil. After a few attempts, this is the recipe I finally came up with.
2 pounds of chicken thigh meat, skinless
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup soy sauce, low salt
3 thinly sliced green onions/scallions
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
bamboo skewers, soaked in water
Combine the sake, soy, onions, sugar and ginger. Mix well, until sugar is dissolved and refrigerate. Begin soaking the bamboo skewers in water-this will prevent them from burning when they hit the grill.
Cut the chicken into 1/2 inch thick strips, across the grain direction of the meat. Add the chicken strips to the marinade and let soak for at least 24 hours, and up to 48 hours. Drain the strips of chicken and thread them on the bamboo skewers. Cover about half of each skewer to leave a handle for easy eating.
Cook the grilled chicken yakitori on a medium hot grill. Place the chicken skewers on the grill so the handles are sticking out over the grill's edge to prevent burning. Cook the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is nice and tender. Serve with a little wasabi or hot mustard for dipping.
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