Yakitori is very popular in Japan: there are whole restaurants devoted to serving up variations of skewered grilled chicken. Now you can make it at home with an easy, flavorful recipe by Michael Ruhlman! Served with steamed rice, it's perfect for a satisfying weeknight dinner.
Marinade: Smash and peel garlic cloves, then place in a small saucepan. Slice unpeeled ginger into coins (about 5 slices); add to the saucepan, followed by the mirin, soy sauce, and honey. Over medium-high heat, bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent honey from burning; allow to simmer for about 1 minute. Set aside to cool by placing into a large skillet filled with cold water.
Trim root ends from scallions; then cut the white and light green parts into 1-inch pieces. (Reserve green stalks for garnish.) Set aside. Slice each chicken thigh into 4 equal pieces. If using skewers, thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers, alternating with pieces of scallion.
Place skewers on a rimmed baking sheet and pour marinade to coat chicken and scallions. Marinate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 3–4 hours), flipping the skewers in the marinade every 5–7 minutes. (Note: Chicken can be marinated the day before and stored, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.) While chicken marinates, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat grill pan over high heat, 5–10 minutes (time will vary, depending on pan). Reserving the marinade, place chicken skewers on the hot grill and cook for 2–3 minutes; place a heavy plate or skillet on the chicken and press down to create grill marks. Flip skewers and repeat, 2–3 more minutes. Place the chicken, still in the grill pan, in the oven and bake, 10 minutes. Meanwhile, finish the sauce.
Pour the marinade back into a saucepan and add the miso. Bring to a boil (which will kill off any bacteria from the raw chicken) and reduce slightly, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove grill pan from oven and transfer skewers to a plate. When the sauce has reduced, brush it over the chicken. Slice reserved scallion greens and sprinkle over the skewers before serving.
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