Though blogging may seem glamorous, in reality I just full body wrestled my new tripod for thirty minutes during a photo shoot, knocked over some beer, and turned some lighting equipment back off and on ten times (because that’s how you get things to work, right?) before ultimately googling the issue. Technology was never my strong suit, but if I am anything it is a problem solver. So here I am, at my desk, un-showered, editing this post, which may I say makes life look pretty perfect. Yakitori Chicken is something I’ve been meaning to make. Chicken thighs are not that appealing in their original form, but when you skewer them and char them, they’re pretty incredible. The chicken thigh is definitely my favorite cut of meat.
Using thighs in this marinated chicken makes the chicken so much juicier, and I feel like it cooks a little faster as well. How great would this be as an hors d’oeuvre? Or do what I did and cook some fluffy coconut rice with it and call it dinner. You could easily marinate and skewer ahead of time during a meal prep and cook them up later. So delicious!
Here’s how you make it. Let’s start with the marinade.
In a large bowl, add the rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger and whisk. If you’re unfamiliar with Mirin, it’s a rice wine type liquid that adds a whole lot of flavor. You could skip it if you don’t have it, but I like the sweetness it adds. Then cut the thighs into one inch pieces and add them to the bowl, tossing to coat. Let these marinate at least an hour up to overnight. Then skewer the chicken onto soaked bamboo skewers. I got the shorter ones so they fit in my grill pan. Sprinkle with black pepper and set aside.
For the rice, add the rice, coconut milk, water and salt to a small pot. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer on low, covering and cooking for 15-20 minutes. Fluff it with a fork and add the green onions.
When you’re ready to grill these, set your grill pan on medium high and add a couple tablespoons of peanut oil. Turn down to medium so you don’t scorch these. Then put the skewers on, leaving at least an inch of room in between. This ensures that the chicken will brown. Cook for about 4 minutes on one side and then turn over and cook the other side another 5 minutes. If the chicken sticks when you try to turn it, leave it alone and wait. It means it hasn’t fully formed that nice brown crust you want. It will tell you when it’s ready to be turned. Remove to a clean place and serve with the coconut rice! See the full recipe below.
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lb chicken thighs
- 2-3 tbsp peanut oil
- 1½ cups jasmine or basmati rice
- one 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- ½ cup water
- a pinch of salt
- 3 chopped green onions (whites and greens)
- Soak about 15 bamboo skewers in a bowl of water for at least one hour. Meanwhile, create your chicken marinade.
- In a large bowl, whisk the rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar and minced ginger. Set aside. Cut the chicken thighs into 1 inch pieces. Place the chicken pieces in the soy sauce mixture. Stir to coat with a spoon. Cover and let sit for at least 1 hour.
- When you're ready to cook the chicken, skewer the chicken onto the bamboo skewers, but don't pack it in too tightly, so the chicken will cook properly. Sprinkle generously with black pepper. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat, and add a couple tablespoons of peanut oil. Once hot, add the chicken skewers, leaving a gap of one inch between skewers. You may need to do two batches. Turn the heat down to medium. Cook for about 4 minutes on on side then once the chicken is well charred and browned, turn and cook the other side an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You may turn again and cook as long as you need. Remove to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining skewers.
- In a medium pot, add the rice, stir in the coconut milk, water and salt. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.