Yakitori is Japanese for grilled chicken. A yakitori master can turn one chicken into 19 separate dishes. Heart is one of my faves because of its pleasantly chewy texture and flavor. Traditional grills use binchotan or Japanese charcoal, but you can use any indoor or outdoor grill. Look for Chinese chicken powder. Although it's similar to classic chicken bouillion, it doesn't have the herbs and spices that make it taste like European stock.
twenty 6- to 8-inch skewers; a konro or charcoal grill
For the tare basting sauce: Heat a medium saucepan over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully pour the sake into the pan away from you (it may ignite). Burn off some of the alcohol for about 30 seconds. Stir in the soy sauce, sugar, chicken powder, scallions and ginger and bring to the boil for about 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat and evenly divide between 2 tall, heatproof containers like liquid measuring cups. (One will be for quickly marinating and another will be for basting.) Set aside.
For the yakitori: Skewer the heart halves on each of 20 skewers, alternating every 2 pieces of heart with a scallion piece.
Put the skewers in one of tare basting sauces while you heat the grill.
Load a konro grill with hot coals and heat until the coals burn white. Position the grate on top. Alternately, preheat a charcoal grill.
Remove the skewers from the basting sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the skewers on one side until light brown and slightly crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over and repeat until the scallions are soft and the hearts are medium, 3 to 5 minutes. Dunk the skewers into the unused tare basting sauce just until the hearts are fully dipped. Drain and place back on the grill for 1 minute on each side. The sauce will caramelize, and the hearts will crisp on the edges.
Remove from the heat, then sprinkle on some sansho and shichimi and serve hot.
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