Sweet Japanese kabobs make a quick meal

  • Chicken and shiitake yakitori makes for a quick and delicious 20-minute meal. Tribune News Service

Tribune News Service
Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Little work is needed to make Japanese kabobs. Known in Japan as yakitori, they’re made with a sweet Japanese barbecue sauce. Serve the chicken over sesame-flavored rice to complete this 20-minute dinner.

In Japan, clouds of aromatic smoke waft off the grill at yakitori stands, making these chicken kabobs a popular stopping off place for an after-work snack. I’ve added vegetables to the skewers and served it over rice to make an entire meal.

The secret to quick and even kabob cooking is to leave a little space on the skewer between each piece of chicken. This allows the chicken to cook through on all sides.

Use the sauce given in the recipe or if pressed for time, use a thick, bottled teriyaki sauce and stir in some sliced scallions.

Chicken and shiitake yakitori


Vegetable oil spray

4 T low-sodium soy sauce

4 T rice vinegar

4 T sugar

¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

¼ pound shiitake mushrooms (about 8 mushrooms)

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces

4 skewers

Heat a stovetop grill over high heat. Spray with vegetable oil spray. Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Add chicken, mushrooms and peppers and marinate five minutes while making the rice.

Reserving the marinade, place chicken, mushroom and red pepper on skewers, alternating until the skewers are full. Leave at least ¼-inch space between ingredients. Place on stovetop grill and cook five minutes. Turn and cook five more minutes.

Bring reserved marinade to a boil and cook three minutes. Serve skewers over sesame rice and drizzle marinade on top.

Yields two servings.

Sesame rice


1 package microwave brown rice (1½ cups cooked)

1 T sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Microwave rice according to package instructions. Measure 1½-cup rice and reserve remaining rice for another time. Add oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.

Yields two servings.