Negima Yakitori (Chicken and Scallion Skewers)

Although I am a huge fan of sushi and Japanese culture, I actually don’t know much about non-sushi Japanese food. “Yakitori” is a Japanese type of skewered chicken, but can also refer to skewered food in general.

Negima Yakitori Chicken and Scallion Skewers Japanese green onion kabob
Yakitori first appeared in the middle of the 17th century. Due to Buddhism, the eating of chicken, beef and other meat was essentially prohibited in Japan, but overseas cultural influences led to chicken being regularly eaten. Because chicken was a high-priced commodity, offal (ie liver, heart, intestines, gizzard, skin and cartilage) made up the majority of yakitori at that time. Until the end of WWII and a stable supply of chicken was established, yakitori remained a delicacy.

Negima refers to the green onion. You have a choice of either salt or tare sauce flavor. The tare is a sweet sauce based on soy sauce, similar to teriyaki, that is basted over the yakitori while grilling or broiling (source).

Recipe adapted from Manu’s Menu and Saveur. Yum, I love Asian skewers.

Negima Yakitori Chicken and Scallion Skewers Japanese green onion kabob

Negima Yakitori (Chicken and Scallion Skewers)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (don’t use breast)
9 spring onions/scallions

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 inch piece ginger
pepper, to taste

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the mirin, soy sauce, sake, water, brown sugar and the green part of 1 spring onion. Bring it to a boil over high heat. When it starts to boil, decrease the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half. (~30 min) Let cool to room temperature before using. Reserve 1/3 of the sauce in a small bowl for the final coating.

Cut the scallions and chicken into 1 inch pieces. Alternate each chicken slice with a piece of spring onion.

Broil skewers for 6 minutes on a wire rack in the oven or grill on medium. Every few minutes, brush the sauce onto the meat on both sides and continue to broil for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through and to caramelize the sauce.

Transfer the skewers to a serving plate and brush the chicken with the reserved sauce with a clean brush (to avoid contamination).  Serve warm.

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  1. This looks great! Just found your blog through food gawker and I love it =) I'm in the same boat as you (med student who spends more time in the kitchen than at my desk), so your recipes really speak to me. Thanks for sharing your wondering food!