One of my favorite Asian take out items is what my local Chinese restaurant calls "chicken sticks." They are inexpensive and very good. These are pieces of chicken (usually the thigh) marinated in a sauce and grilled on a kabob skewer. I found out that the proper name for this tasty chicken is yakitori. The chicken is easy to prepare and uses few ingredients, leeks, sake, sugar, honey and soy sauce.
It is my understanding that there are yakitori stands and restaurants all over Japan and that they are favorite 'stop by' spots for office workers. 9 to 5'ers stop by stands or restaurants to get yakitori and a cold drink before heading home.
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped leeks
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sake*
1 tablespoon water
6 or 7 medium sized chicken thighs with bone, skin and fat removed.
6 inch or more wooden skewers that have been soaked in water.
1. Soak wooden skewers in water.
1. Combine first five ingredients and mix thoroughly. Heat the mixture (do not boil) and use as marinade for chicken. Since I like heat I add a little Sriracha hot chili sauce to the marinade.
2. Remove skin and bones from chicken, cut into bite sized (approximately 1 inch) pieces and place into the marinade. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Place 3 or 4 pieces of chicken, depending on size, on wood skewers that been soaked in water and are still thoroughly wet. This should keep the skewers from burning during grilling process. Place skewered chicken hot grill and cook until done.
You can bake also these in a 375 degree oven until done. You may want to use metal skewers for the oven or wrap foil around the wooden skewers so they won't burn in the oven.
Good with beer or sparkling apple cider. Some supermarkets sell their own brand sparkling apple cider.
Serve this chicken with a simple sautéed spinach dish. Use 1-10 or 12 ounce bag of pre-packaged spinach (baby or regular torn.) Wash spinach and place in large sauté pan, no extra water is needed. Cover the pan and cook spinach over low heat until it wilts. If desired add a pinch of salt. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or butter, stir and cover again. Keep covered until you are ready to plate.
Makes about 4 small servings.
*Sake: Japanese rice wine.
*You can make these with beef also. Use a cut like flank steak and marinate overnight.
You can buy wooden skewers from stores such as Walmart or order them online. Wooden skewers are often sold 100 to a package, these skewers are good for spearing single cut fruit or a combination of fruits and cut pieces of pound cake.