One thing I’ve learned about Yakitori Chicken, it isn’t just Shish Kebabs you find at your local Chinese buffet. In fact, it isn’t Chinese at all, it’s Japanese. Much like Sushi, American Chinese restaurants are just adapting adding to their menu’s because of the popularity they’ve gained over the years. Truthfully, both the Sushi and Yakitori aren’t prepared very well and, are generally, “okay” at best. If you’ve decided you like or even hate these recipes from a buffet, understand that your opinion is most likely skewed and based on your lack of experience. The food hasn’t been prepared right. Therefore, most folks wouldn’t know an authentic recipe if it hit them in the face and wiggled. So, since that’s what you’re probably used to, I’m going to help you stomp out a buffet style recipe but with some more pep.
Traditional Yakitori Chicken
There truly is an art to Yakitori Chicken. One of my favorite things about the Japanese culture is their dedication to perfection. Even famous chefs like Gordon Ramsey are intimidated by sushi and noodle chefs and, I’d be willing to bet, Yakitori chefs are no different. Yakitori Chicken is barbecue that uses the entire bird and doesn’t leave anything to waste. Though I don’t use a whole chicken in this recipe, I’ve picked out a few things that are commonly used for it. Boneless chicken thigh meat, chicken liver and hearts. Each are prepared just a little differently.
Yakitori Chicken Skewers
I like to use disposable wooden skewers for the Yakitori Chicken, instead of metal, because they stay cool and make it easier to flip back and forth. The Chicken thighs are cut into bite size pieces and marinated. I like to use my Teriyaki Sauce recipe because it’s practically the same thing as basic Yakitori sauce. The main difference is just the quantities of each ingredient vary but this is a really great and simple alternative to make this recipes easy. I brush olive oil on the hearts and liver portions to keep them moist. There’s also a splash of liquid smoke but if you’re going to grill, you won’t need it but you should salt and pepper to taste.
Yakitori Chicken Ingredients:
4 Boneless Chicken Thighs 1 lbs Chicken Liver 1 lbs Chicken Hearts 1/3 cup Teriyaki Sauce 2 tbsp Olive Oil 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke Salt and Pepper to taste
I use Himalayan Salt and White Pepper. You’ll also need about a dozen Skewers to make this Yakitori Chicken on the Grill or baked in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
This Leg of Lamb recipe is phenomenal and I’m not just saying that. It’s got all of the flare and Sweet flavor that any Lamb recipe should have. It’s succulent, tender and it’s got a nice caramelized glaze that just can’t be denied. Some could argue that it’s Asian influence makes this a Hawaiian recipe but I didn’t consult any Asian or Hawaiian recipes before I put this together. Though, I do have plenty of experience with the majority of these ingredients, the variety, I think will shock you.
4 to 6 lbs Leg of Lamb
The secret to a great leg of lamb lies in the combination of a balanced flavor with a tender, slow and low roast. How is this achieved? Well, I’ve learned that beef is generally more pleasant to eat because of the saturated fats. Lamb, however, has unsaturated fats that oxidize, giving it a stronger gamy taste that can tend to be a bit overwhelming. Mustard and Vinegar can be applied to neutralize the process and minimize the unpleasant taste. In this recipe, I’ve chosen to use Wasabi and it really does the trick. And, you don’t have to be afraid of using it either. Wasabi has a mixture of cabbages, horseradish and mustard that really evens out the flavor and there’s no unbearable heat either. In fact there is no spiciness left in the meat, whatsoever. And after the Sweet Chili Glaze caramelizes, you’ve got yourself one helluva Leg of Lamb!
Believe it or not, it’s so easy shopping for ingredients for Oriental recipes. I’d dare say, it’s even fun. You get so much culture in such a little place and sometimes its just really nice to get out of my comfort zone only to realize it can be just as comfortable somewhere else.
The folks at this 1st Oriental Market are amazing people. They’re so eager to help with all your needs. And I find that this is common just about anywhere I go when it comes to foreign food. People like to share their experiences and culture. I find that it isn’t any different here and the owner, Earl and his wife, make it a real pleasant experience.
Most Oriental Cooking, these days, is very simplified because almost all of the guess work has already been cut out for you. I don’t have to make every individual sauce that is used to combine with other sauces to make one great recipe. For example: when a recipe calls for Hoisin Sauce, you don’t have to make you’re own Hoisin Sauce from scratch(which would require several other ingredients), you just crack open a bottle. And what about Plum Sauce… could you imagine having to make that beforehand too? Both of these ingredients are in my Chinese Barbecue Sauce recipe, which only has 5 or 6 ingredients: Hoisin, Plum Sauce, Ketchup, Sugar, 5 spice powder etc., and that makes it really simple just buying each one of those premade bottles. But, could you imagine having to make all of those ingredients as well? You’d be making ingredients for your ingredients.
That being said, I would just like you to understand and realize that you don’t have to learn translations of ingredients you’ve probably never heard of in the first place. Because, most of the basic ingredients I show you in this video are very versatile to most of the popular Americanized Oriental recipes that you’re likely familiar with anyway.
So get familiar with the few I show you now and I’ll introduce more as we go and you’ll be a pro before you know it!