Yakitori Chicken With Blistered Shishitos

May 17, 2021
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Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

When I lived in New York City, one of my favorite places for a late-night bite was a small yakitori spot in the East Village. As soon as you opened the door to the dimly lit restaurant, you were welcomed with the mouthwatering aromas of freshly grilled meat and vegetables.

My friends and I would order an assortment of skewers off their à la carte menu, like bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms and kawa (crispy chicken skin). But my all-time favorite yakitori skewers were the simple yet perfectly seasoned grilled chicken thighs, coated in a sticky soy sauce and mirin glaze. (They were also a crowd-favorite among my friends, and we often battled for the last skewer until we ultimately gave in and ordered more.)

Though the charcoal briquettes give the yakitori that signature smoky and burnt-fat flavor, this recipe works well on the stovetop or on a gas grill, too. Aside from an ice-cold beer, these spicy-sweet, garlicky yakitori skewers—I made ‘em with tender Free Range Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs from PERDUE® HARVESTLAND®—pair perfectly with a bowl of charred shishito peppers that take only a few minutes to prepare. —Maki Yazawa

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® Free Range and Organic Chicken. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the yakitori chicken:
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Thai chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® Free Range Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 6 bamboo skewers
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • For the shishito peppers:
  • 2 cups shishito peppers, washed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Lemon wedge, for garnish (optional)
  1. For the yakitori chicken:
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sake, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and Thai chile. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar melts. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.
  3. Cut the chicken thighs into 2- by 1/2-inch-long strips. Place in a resealable zip-top bag. Set aside 1/2 cup of the room-temperature marinade, and add the remainder to the bag. Marinate the chicken for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Meanwhile, submerge the bamboo skewers entirely in a bowl filled with water and hydrate for 1 hour before grilling.
  5. As the chicken marinates, prepare the glazing sauce: In the medium saucepan, pour the reserved 1/2 cup of marinade and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar melts.
  6. In a small bowl, make a slurry by whisking together the cornstarch with 1 teaspoon water. Mix until thoroughly combined and slowly pour into the saucepan. Stir and cook the mixture until it begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside for glazing.
  7. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and thread 4 to 5 pieces per skewer in an even layer.
  8. Preheat your grill or pan over medium-high heat, and grill or pan-fry the skewered chicken thighs for about 5 to 6 minutes, turning halfway, or until the chicken is golden and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  9. Glaze the chicken with the thickened sauce and garnish it with toasted sesame seeds. Serve warm.
  1. For the shishito peppers:
  2. Preheat a cast-iron skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the shishito peppers with canola oil until evenly coated.
  4. Cook in the pan until blistered and slightly charred, tossing frequently.
  5. Remove from the heat and garnish with a generous amount of salt. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional), and serve warm.

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