Japan Eats

Japan Eats Podcast: Episode 15, “The Pellecopter″

This week, we discuss popular Nogata grill Akimotoya, give our thoughts on what makes a good dipping sauce and survey recent Japanese drink news.

The Japan Eats Podcast is presented by Garrett DeOrio, Marcus Lovitt and Christopher Pellegrini. To listen, click play on the audio player below:

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Skewerless yakitori

Yakitori (grilled chicken) is of course one of the most popular Japanese dishes, both within Japan and overseas. Here in Tokyo, grilled chicken is most often cooked on skewers in front of an audience of appreciative patrons, often salarymen on their way home from work. Customers usually have the option of having their chicken with salt, or with tare sauce. For this recipe we’re going to be making tare.

We’re also going to be using a kind of Japanese griddle called a yakiami. They are relatively easy to find in Japan – try any supermarket or online at kakaku.com. Readers overseas might be able to pick one up here. Those unable to get their hands on one can use any kind of barbecue.

Skewerless yakitori

Skewerless yakitori

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 300g chicken (momo)
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 negi
  • 10 shishito
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red paprika

Tare sauce

  • 1/2 cup mirin (or just a little more-the re should be slightly more mirin than soy)
  • 1/2 cup soy


Cut the chicken and peppers into bite-sized pieces. Cut the negi into 3 to 4 cm lengths and the shiitake into halves. Use a toothpick and stab the shishito 2 or 3 times.

Next, wipe the yakiami down with a paper towel and a little oil to prevent the chicken from sticking to it. Place the yakiami onto the gas table and allow it to heat. Once it has begun to heat up, place the chicken on the tray. Allow this to cook before adding the negi and then other ingredients. The key thing is that you want each item on the grill to be finished cooking at the same time.

To prepare the sauce, pour the mirin into a frying pan and warm it. After talking the alcohol out, pour in the soy and cook until the mixture becomes starchy.

When everything on the grill is cooked, dip them into the tare sauce, covering them completely. Use chopsticks, not fingers! Place the ingredients on a dish and serve with kona sanscho (similar to Szechuan pepper).

All very easy. A few final tips:

Be careful not to overcook the vegetables. Other vegetables that will go well with the sauce include zucchini, okura and eringi mushrooms.