Like the Tripoley and cribbage we used to play so often together, yakitori is something of a tradition in my family. Dad's Navy career had us living in Japan for a few years (I was born there), and just outside the gates of the base was a small yakitori restaurant my parents often patronized.
This recipe is based on one my mom came home with from Japan. These flavorful skewers can be made with chicken in place of beef, if you wish. I recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs; they remain more tender and juicy on the grill than chicken breast meat.
Adapted from "Gourmet Game Night" by Cynthia Nims.
For the teriyaki marinade:
- ½ cup mirin (sweet rice wine) or dry sherry
- ½ cup soy sauce, preferably reduced-sodium
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon pressed or minced garlic
For the steak:
- ¾ pound sirloin or tri-tip steak
- 8 green onions, trimmed to 4 inches from root end
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
For the marinade:
Combine the mirin, soy sauce, chicken broth, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Pour the marinade into a shallow dish large enough to hold the meat and set aside to cool.
For the steak:
Cut the beef into 24 (1-inch) squares about ½-inch thick. Add the beef to the cooled marinade, stir to evenly coat, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cut the trimmed green onions into thirds. Soak 12 (4-6-inch) bamboo skewers in water for at least 1 hour.
Preheat an outdoor grill.
Thread 2 pieces of beef and green onion, alternating, onto one end of each skewer. Grill the skewers until the meat is nicely browned and just a bit pink in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skewers to a plate or small platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Set the plate on a warming tray to keep warm, if you wish.