All too often relegated to the role of appetizer, I am a proponent of yakitori featuring as a main. I’m rather addicted to these skewered caramelised morsels and along with gyoza they inevitably appear when I’m left to do the ordering. I love the deliciously sweet charred exterior and moist flesh within. Salty, sticky and terribly moreish they are a delightful post-work snack with an Asahi. They are also just the thing to turn a steaming bowl of udon, sprinkled with strips of wakame and an obligatory serving of virtuous greens into something a little more special. Like many untraditional pairings it is surprisingly delicious and like all the best mid-week dinners, reasonably balanced and quick to prepare.
This will also be my entry to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast.
Chicken Yakitori with Udon Noodles in Miso Broth
200g/7oz skinless chicken thighs or breasts diced
4-5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Mirin
2 tbsp Sake
1 tbsp caster sugar
wooden skewers (soaked in water to prevent burning)
I have substituted the sake with rice wine vinegar in the past to save a trip to the shops. Feel free to fiddle with the ratios to your taste.
Over a medium heat warm the soy, Mirin, Sake and sugar. Bring to the boil stirring all the while to prevent the slowly caramelising sauce sticking to the sides of the pan. Reduce the heat and taste. Add additional soy or sugar if necessary for balance. As the sauce reduces the flavours will concentrate so be careful not to add an excess of soy. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
Thread bite sized cubes of chicken breast or thigh onto pre-soaked skewers.
Baste the skewers with the thickened sauce and place on a pre-heated grill plate. Continue to baste and turn the skewers until the chicken is cooked through. The sauce should caramelise and turn the pieces a glossy brown. Be careful not to overcook to ensure you are left with deliciously moist flesh within.
Udon Noodles in Miso Broth
Small bunch gai lan or green of choice
200g/7oz udon noodles
2 tbsp miso paste
3 cups water
1 sheet wakame shredded into strips
While the yakitori is cooking, steam the gail land for a few minutes.
In a medium sized pot add the miso paste and water. Allow to heat through and the paste to dissolve. Add the noodles and allow to cook through on a gentle heat. Just before serving, sprinkle over the wakame.
To serve ladle the noodles and miso broth into bowls. Top with gai lan and serve with yakitori.