Saturday, April 16, 2011

Yakitori Sauce

Here in Colorado Springs there's an awesome little Japanese restuarant that I've been going to for over 25 years now, called The House of Yakitori. They serve, yes that's right, Yakitori! Yakitori for those of you who don't know is skewered pieces of chicken, cooked over a charcoal grill, glazed with a delightful sweet sauce that is similar to teriyaki, but yakitori sauce is thicker, richer and a lot more flavorful than teriyaki sauce. For years I've been saying that I need to make my own yak sauce (as we fondly refer to it) and yet getting it just right has elluded the Witch, until now!

After many, many, many taste tests at the restaurant I was fairly confident that I knew what was in the sauce. Soy sauce, that was a given. Sugar, most likely brown sugar seemed right as well. And yet, time after time, it STILL wasn't yak sauce. Good teriyaki sauce, sure but yak sauce, no. What was missing I wondered?

Hours were spent at the Asian Pacific grocery, staring at the products in the 'SAUCES' aisle (and let me tell you thats a BIG aisle there!) wondering what I needed to take my sauce from good teriyaki to holy cow that's it Yakitori sauce. Then it hit me. Mirin! Mirin is a rice wine product with a very high sugar content. And it is EXACTLY what my yak sauce was missing.

The joy on the faces of my daughter, nephew, sister and husband was aparent when I offered them a sample of my yak sauce. At first they all looked at it like "oh sure Witch, you've claimed to make yak sauce before and its just NOT the same!" Then they try a sip. Their faces changed from dismay to delight, eyes light up and my wonderful wonderful nephew Ben even proclaimed "this is BETTER than yakitori sauce, it has more flavor and isn't as sweet as theirs!" The boy is almost 10 and is a genius, what can I say? :)

So here it is dear readers. Yakitori sauce. Its rich, thick, syrupy, sweet, salty, savory, umami laden and delicious. Perfect on grilled meats, especially chicken and beef. Because of its high sugar content it will burn quickly on the grill so use a judicious hand when dolling out the sauce over the coals. I sincerely hope you all enjoy this as much as we do!

Yakitori sauce
makes about 8 servings
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 T rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic whole, crushed with back of knife

Combine everything in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer. Remove garlic cloves after 5 minutes of simmering. Continue to cook until sauce has reduced and is a thick syrup.

Chicken skewers:
1 lb chicken thighs boneless and skinless, cleaned and cut into chunks for skewering
2 T yakitori sauce
1 T soy sauce
bamboo skewers, soaked in water a minimum of 30 min before grilling

marinate chicken in the sauces for 1 hour. While chicken marinates soak the bamboo skewers in water. The moister the skewers are the less chances there is that they'll burn up on the grill.

Skewer about 2 oz of chicken on each skewer. Grill over hot charcoal until done.
Drizzle with yakitori sauce when finished.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
Yakitori sauce only
Amount Per Serving
Calories 101.4
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 1,054.0 mg
Potassium 85.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Sugars 26.4 g

Nutrition Facts
Chicken skewer with sauce, 1 each
Amount Per Serving
Calories 183.5
Total Fat 2.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 57.3 mg
Sodium 1,113.4 mg
Potassium 244.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Sugars 26.4 g
Protein 14.6 g
Protein 1.0 g


Unknown said...

So I've been meaning to pick up mirin for the last month and forget it every time! Must get it now, cause you know this sauce girl has got to try this! It sounds amazing!! AND you got your grill on...WOOHOO!!! :)

StephenC said...

Witch, this posting is what blogging is supposed to be (in my not so humble opinion). I'm not familiar with yakitori, but that is about to change.

Unknown said...

ah Andrea, a woman after my own heart... this is a very generous thing of you to do because discovering something as wonderful as this can, as you've shown, take a long time to develop, so thank you... I love yakatori chicken and this will be made in my kitchen in a couple of weeks x

Farmer Jo said...

YUM! That looks fabulous

Lea Ann said...

Congratulations on recreating that sauce! I've got to give it a try, and next time I'm in the Springs, I'll have to give that place a try.

Yenta Mary said...

Oh, how amazing! The thrill of the hunt, the success in not only mastering but bettering the sauce ... :)

Unknown said...

Oh, I am all over that yak sauce. It sounds amazing. I can't believe the lengths you went through to get it right; and then to figure it was mirin. Well done!

To answer your question on my post, from what I can tell and my minimal experience with both types, Indian curry relies on a dry spice mix while Thai curry uses a curry paste. There's probably more to it than that, but when I've made Indian curry, I've always combined a bunch of toasted spices, if not using a pre-made bottled dry curry spice. The Thai curries all come as pastes in bottles. I hope that helps.

Unknown said...

It is SUCH an important ingedient..that MIRIN! It's sweet but not crazy sweet! Love the sauce Andrea and those skewers look out of this world delicious! Might make these this week (possibly tonight) becasue I have ALL the ingredients! Thanks!

Karen Harris said...

I love it when I can finally crack a mystery recipe so congratulations on cracking yours. This recipe just looks delicious.

Velva said...

Cheers for discovering the secret to a yakatori sauce. I am thinking this would be wonderful for a summer bbq. Very nice.


Pam said...

The sauce sounds terrific!

Lyñ (My Little Messy N Cheeky) said...

congrats on your success and tks for sharing this recipe to all of us! :D
I'm still doubting to buy the Yak sauce everytime I go supermarket bcoz I'm not really sure what it taste like. Now I'm not going to buy it but to cook it myself using this recipe of yours! Tks again! :D

Martha said...

Sounds wonderful! I popped over to try to find your cake pops. Did you post them? I'd love to see how others did on their first few tries!

Spoon and Chopsticks said...

I'm loving this recipe. This is something I have to try. Thanks for sharing.

sook said...

I just love yakitori!! Thanks for sharing! Yum!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying it.. but I can tell you, you are missing one very very important piece..



Spader said...

I love the taste of lemon grass so I added an inch of it while it reduced and it was delicious!
Thanks for the recipe!

unicorncupcakes said...

Thank you so much for the recipe. My boyfriend grew up in the springs and misses the house of yakitori. Do you by any chance know how to make their slaw?

unicorncupcakes said...

Thank you so much for the recipe. My boyfriend grew up in the springs and misses the house of yakitori. Do you by any chance know how to make their slaw?

wendelina said...

This yak sauce sounds on the mark! Our local yak place's sauce has a little kick to it though. Any thoughts on what to add for a mellow after burn?

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Wendelina you could try some hot chili oil or Sambal Olek. The chili oil is a nice mellow slow burner, the Sambal is a bit more in your face. I like both but with Yak sauce the chili oil is my choice :) Thanks for your question!

Shelly said...

I grew up in the springs eating there. Do you have any recipes for the soup and slaw? said...


LauraLC22 said...

Hi, I stumbled upon your Yakitori sauce recipe, followed it and I got that amazing flavor, like at the restaurants! Thank you for sharing! Cheers from Mexico!

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