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Chicken Yakitori with Warm Carrot Salad

Here is a simple version of the classic, and ever popular, Japanese chicken yakitori. The ingredients used are similar to those in teriyaki but here they work as a marinade and not a glaze. Marinate for an hour or so to work the magic of the mirin, sake and tamari trio.
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 min


Chicken Yakitori

1 ¾ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
¼ cup sake
¼ cup mirin
2 tbsp light tamari sauce
12 green onion(s), fresh
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Warm Carrot Salad

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, unseasoned
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
4 cups carrot(s), fresh
2 tsp hot red chili pepper, fresh, minced
¼ cup cilantro
1 tbsp mint, fresh, minced

Food Safety

Before you start, wash all surfaces and your hands with soap and warm water, and remember to wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards after they touch raw meat or eggs. Avoid cross-contamination by using a different cutting board for your meat and other ingredients. Make sure you’re cooking to safe temperatures and chilling any leftovers within two hours. For more food safety tips, visit our Food Safety at Home Section.


  1. Cut chicken thigh into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Set aside in bowl or plastic re-sealable bag.

  2. Combine sake, mirin and light tamarai in small pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes or until reduced to ⅓ cup (80 mL). Cool. Pour over chicken. Place in refrigerator and leave to marinade for at least an hour and preferably overnight.

  3. Remove green end from onions. Slice and reserve half for the carrot salad. Refrigerate the rest of the green tops for another use. Slice lower white part into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces cut across the grain on a diagonal and set aside.

  4. Soak twelve – seven inch (18 cm) bamboo skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.

  5. Drain chicken and reserve marinade. Bring marinade to a boil in a saucepan and set aside for basting. Thread chicken onto skewers alternating between chicken and the white of the onion. Use 3 pieces of chicken and onion on each skewer. Set the skewers on large platter. Refrigerate skewers and marinade if you are not going to grill right away.

  6. Preheat grill to medium high. Place skewers on top shelf, close lid and grill for 8 minutes. Open lid, brush with glaze and turn to ensure even cooking. Brush the other side with marinade and close grill. Cook an additional 8 minutes or until the onions begin to brown slightly and chicken reaches internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

  7. For the salad, mix rice vinegar, water and sugar in small pan. Heat over low heat for one minute, stirring to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

  8. Slice carrots into ribbons length-wise using a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Alternately, coarsely grate carrots. Add to a non-reactive mixing bowl.

  9. Mince the fresh red chile. Remove the seeds if you don’t like your food too hot. Alternately, use sweet red pepper. Tear the fresh cilantro and mint into pieces. Toss carrots with chile, cilantro, mint and reserved sliced green onion tops.

  10. Toss salad again with the dressing.

  11. Place yakitori skewers on platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with Warm Carrot Salad.

Helpful Tip

Mirin is a versatile sauce used in Japanese cooking to give lustre to glazed foods. It is made from sweet rice that is fermented with rice koji (natural rice culture). Mirin can be used in vegetables, broths, fried noodles and a variety of sauces and dips for tempura and sushi.

Nutrition Info

Per 330 g serving Amount
Protein40 g
Fat11 g
Saturated Fat3 g
Carbohydrate17 g
Fibre2 g
Sugar11 g
Cholesterol165 mg
Sodium570 mg
Per 330 g serving % Daily Value
Vitamin A8
Vitamin C30
Vitamin B643
Vitamin B1235