Yakitori Recipes: The Basics



My friend Island Vittles has decided to start a series on that worldwide known Japanese specialty that is “Yakitori/焼き鳥/”Grilled Chicken”.
I hope that this series of postings on various basic recipes will help her and all other foodies interested in that simple, healthy and so delicious delicacy!

For the sake of continuity, I decided to re-post The Basics for all to refer to.

Yakitori (焼き鳥 やきとり), or fried chicken, is a Japanese type of skewered chicken that is found everywhere in Japan and i many countries abroad.
They are served all year round and have the advantage not only to be tasty but very healthy as meat comes by.

It is made from several bite-sized pieces of chicken meat, or chicken offal, skewered on a bamboo skewer and barbecued, usually over charcoal.

Diners ordering yakitori usually have a choice of having it served with salt (and sometimes lemon juice) or with tare sauce, which is generally made up of mirin, sake, soy sauce and sugar. The sauce is applied to the skewered meat and is grilled until delicately cooked and is served with the tare sauce as a dip.

Ways of serving naturally vary with regions.


As served in Mururoran, Hokkaido.


As served in Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku Island.

One can order for sets or individually.
In the later case, you would do weel to remember basic names:

hatsu (ハツ) or kokoro (こころ), chicken heart

rebā (レバー), liver

sunagimo (砂肝), or zuri (ずり) chicken gizzard

tsukune (つくね), chicken meatballs
Great served with an egg yolk and tare!

(tori)kawa ((とり)かわ) chicken skin, grilled until crispy

tebasaki (手羽先), chicken wing
The same can be ordered whole.

bonjiri (ぼんじり), chicken tail

shiro (シロ), chicken small intestines

ikada (筏) (lit. raft), Japanese scallion, with two skewers to prevent rotation. Also called negima (ネギ間)

Aoto (青と). Here the leek/scallion is rolled insde the chicken

Kashira (かしら) made from the tender par of the breast.

Seseri (せせり) similar to kashira

nankotsu, chicken cartilage
toriniku, Free Range “Chicken of the Earth” (all white meat on skewer)

Common kushiyaki (non-poultry) dishes:

atsuage tofu (厚揚げとうふ, deep-fried tofu)
enoki maki (エノキ巻き, enoki mushrooms wrapped in slices of pork)
pīman (ピーマン, green pepper)
asuparabēkon (アスパラベーコン, asparagus wrapped in bacon)

butabara (豚ばら, pork belly)

gyutan (牛タン), ox tongue, sliced thinly

Naturally if you take purely regional specialties in account, there are many more!

Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento. Island Vittles

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


8 thoughts on “Yakitori Recipes: The Basics”

  1. I want to make tori kawa with some chicken skin that I got (had to use skinless chicken in a recipe). I always defer to your blog for authentic Japanese recipes, so am wondering if you’ve got any tips/advice for making this.

    What;s the marinade like, and should I marinade before skewering or just simply salt-pepper it and then brush on the glaze after?

    Should I chop up the skin into equal sized small pieces before layering, or just thread through (skin is thin but the skin in the photo looks like chunks, I presume because it’s many layers wound together?)

    And how does aota work, I’m fascinated that the green onion is rolled seamlessly inside the chicken! Do you think I could try that with asparagus and chicken skin?

    Sorry for the bombardment of questions, hope you can help x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Shuhan!
      If you want to marinade the sjin while grilling it (not before, but after it has reached a crispy colour, you can base it with personal preference on a mixture of soy sauce, sweet sake, ric vinegar and spices.
      But salt pepper is great served with a bit of hot mustard!
      As for the skin just thread through it with a wodden stick and grill on both sides!
      It looks like chunks on the picture, which you can do if the skin has a lot of fat under or just stick through pushing the skin to obtain a “wave pattern”.
      Asparaguses and chicken skin is a great idea indeed! No need to boil the asparagus first, just peel it it a bit beforehand!
      Have a great time!
      best regards,


  2. Cher Robert-Gilles,

    Avec un nom comme le votre, je pense ne pas prendre trop de risque en écrivant français, langue que je maîtrise quand même un tantinet mieux que l’anglais.

    Je n’ai finalement rien d’intéressant à dire, si ce n’est qu’à moi aussi, votre billet m’a donné faim, et que je décide d’aller de ce pas au restau à yakitori que je n’ai encore jamais testé bien qu’à côté de chez moi, sans doute parce que même sachant lire l’hiragana je ne savais pas à quoi correspondait les plats proposés (ça va mieux maintenant).

    Voilà, j’y vais…


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