Yakitori negima is one of the more popular iterations of the made-to-order grilled chicken skewers commonly enjoyed with a cold beer at bars in Japan. Featuring chicken and scallion pieces, this version calls for brushing the skewers with a sweet soy glaze (tare or teriyaki) that turns nice and caramelized on the grill. Here we call for a grill or grill pan but you can also cook them under a heated broiler or over the low coals of a campfire, turning them frequently and watching carefully to avoid scorching. You'll want to use paddle-type skewers, which are flatter than the usual kind and easier to turn; look for them at Japanese markets and online.
Soak six 10-inch bamboo paddle skewers in water for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the tamari, mirin, sake, brown sugar, garlic and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened and reduced by about half, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the ginger. Let cool, then remove 1/4 cup for glazing and set aside the remaining for serving. (The teriyaki glaze can be refrigerated, covered, up to a day before using.)
Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium-high heat. Lightly coat the hot grates or pan with vegetable oil.
Thread each skewer with 7 to 8 pieces each of the chicken and scallions, alternating between the two.
Place the skewers on the grill and lightly sprinkle each with salt. Cook, continuously turning the skewers, until the scallions are tender the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes.
Brush some of the reserved1/4 cup of glaze all over each skewer. Continue to grill, continuously turning, until the glaze is slightly caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with the reserved teriyaki sauce.
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This recipe has been updated to more accurately recognize its origin or to add cultural context. It may differ from what was originally published or broadcast.
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