Monday, March 15, 2010

鶏串- にわとりくし Niwatori Kushi - Chicken Skewers

Konnichi-wa! Your Gaijin-Gourmet is back from another round in the dojo and back in the kitchen to bring you something simple and easy to make to suit your Japanese inspired tastes. Now with spring officially here, barbecuing season will be kicking into full swing before long. So to start spring off I thought I would give you something we were inspired to make while watching an episode of the 2004 NHK Taiga Drama Shinsengumi. Spring had hit the show and the Samurai were all enjoying teriyaki chicken skewers along the rest stops along the Old Tokaido Road. It looked so OIISHII that this modern day Bushi had to try it ourselves and offer it to you. Niwatori Kushi or teriyaki chicken on skewers as an easy dish you can make anywhere.  And when I mean anywhere I mean here in the US or in Japan with ease. As I have stated before, what I offer here is nothing original but simple easy to make Japanese inspired dishes where ingredients and ease of assembly make Japanese cooking accessible to anyone. And with that disclaimer out of the way, let's get cooking!

As with any meal found on here, you'll need a few ingredients to get started.
1/2 lb of chicken breast
1/2 Cup of Teriyaki Sauce for Marinade
1 pkg Wooden Skewers
1 pkg Aluminum Foil
1 Basting Brush

OK this might not sound like rocket science but its always good to cover the basics. Take a 1/2 lb package of chicken breasts and clean with cold water. Cut away any excess fat for preparation. You can use thigh meat but you'll spend more time trimming fat so I recommend sticking with breast meat.

Once your meat is cleaned and trimmed of fat, take your breast meat and cut in 1 1/2 to 2 inch bite size slices.

Place your chicken slices and place into a bowl or mixing container.
Pour the Teriyaki Sauce to marinate.
Refrigerate for one hour.

Easy enough so far ne?

Good! - Let's continue!

After a good hour, take out your wooden skewers and place up to four pieces of teriyaki marinated chicken on each skewer. Don't place more than four per skewer. If you have ever seen anyone eating Niwatori Kushi on an NHK Taiga Drama, you'll only see four pieces on that skewer. Remember, it's not a Shish kabob. It's Japanese!

Now if you noticed, we earlier mentioned using aluminum foil. You'll use this for your gas BBQ or Japanese Hibachi Grill. Either method of grilling will work out fine. I reccommend taking the foil and lining the edge of the grill. The reason for this is if you have ever grilled shish kabobs before it's not uncommon for the skewers to catch fire and burn away. Lining your grill with foil will help prevent that so you can cook a nice presentable Niwatori. Remember, in Japanese cooking presentation is very important. わかりますか?

Line your niwatori right up to the edge of the foil. After 15 minutes, baste with a brush additional teriyaki sauce for flavor and according to taste. We really love teriyaki so we baste this a few times before serving. Remember to baste both sides.
Cook until golden. Don't do like the Ren-Faire guys do and burn the meat. Remember, presentation!

This dish can be served with sushi rice, noodles, or our favorite Yasai-no-Fukumeni which we previously posted how to make here.  We hope you have a prosperous spring and fun おいいしい Japanese inspired cooking! Enjoy!


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