Sansho & Lemon Yakitori
Serves 2 for a meal or 4 as an appetizer.
Yakitori is a popular appetizer in Japan. Traditionally, chicken is skewered, glazed, and grilled over charcoal, but you can substitute any type of meat, tofu, or vegetable. The sansho glaze is so flavorful that you don’t need to marinate the meat. The skewers can be cooked on the grill or under the broiler in the oven.
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 fat green onions, white and green parts cut in 1-inch pieces
8 bamboo skewers (7-inch), soaked in water for 30 minutes
1/2 cup yakitori glaze, recipe follows
Pour half the glaze into a bowl to use for cooking; reserve the other half to use just before serving. Set aside.
Fill a skewer, alternating meat and onion, until it has about 2” unfilled on either end. Repeat with remaining skewers, meat, and onions.
On the grill For super tender meat, we recommend suspending the skewers over the grill on bricks. (Wrap four bricks in tin foil; arrange the bricks so that you can rest the ends of the skewers on them.) Grill for six minutes over very hot coals. Brush the skewers with glaze, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Under the broiler Set a cooling rack into a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the rack with oil and set the filled skewers on the rack. Broil for 6 minutes (highest heat setting). Brush the skewers with glaze, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Finishing The meat and onion will be crispy and caramelized. Glaze again, generously, just before serving (use the reserved glaze and a clean brush!).
Lemon Yakitori Glaze Makes about 3/4 cup.
This sansho-flecked glaze is so yummy that you’ll also want to use it on broccoli, portobello mushroom caps, or cauliflower steaks.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup sake
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground sansho pepper
Remove zest from the lemon in wide strips using a vegetable peeler — leave the white pith behind. Save the lemon itself for another use.
Put the soy sauce, mirin, sake, brown sugar, and lemon zest plus 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30–40 minutes.
The glaze will reduce to about half its original volume, and should be syrupy and glossy. Remove the pan from the heat, take out the strips of lemon peel, and stir in the sansho. Let the glaze cool for 15 minutes before using.