Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I recently noticed that beer tastes better in Japan. I'm not talking about Asahi or Sapporo tasting better than Bud or Miller (though they do, in my opinion). To be fair, let's use Heineken for example. If you order a draft of Heineken, I just think it tastes better in Japan than it does here in the States. I thought maybe it was the climate. There's nothing like an ice cold beer in a hot humid summer evening in Japan. Compared to that, Seattle, especially, doesn't have much humidity in the summer so I don't crave beer as much. But then I thought about it some more and realized that the key point was "ice cold."

Most bars and especially izakayas in Japan keep their beer mugs in a freezer, so it's icy cold when they get it out to pour your beer. Sometimes, it's so cold that you find thin ice pieces floating on top. But I noticed that majorities of restaurants, and especially bars in the US don't bother putting their beer mugs in the freezer. Usually, they are stacked up on the counter at a room temperature. If you are unlucky, sometimes your mug is fresh out of the dishwasher that it's hot! There's been a couple of times I got my beer, and I could've warmed up my hands by wrapping my hands around it. And worst of all, sometimes I can taste the detergent. What a way to ruin a good beer.

While I'm on the topic of beer, I thought I would show you how to make yakitori. It's basically grilled chicken on a stick.

CATEGORY: Side-dish
SERVES: 2 people

chicken, preferably thighs
some salt (preferably sea salt)

The toughest part about cooking yakitori is chopping up chicken thighs into small pieces and putting them on a stick. I usually use thighs since they are more tender than breast meat. I normally buy a big pack of thighs, make bunch of sticks, and freeze them.

Yakitori will taste the best if you grill it over charcoal, but if you have something like George Foreman Grill, that would work as well (though it won't have that grill flavor!)

There are two common ways to flavor yakitori; sea salt or teriyaki sauce. Most hardcore yakitori fans (like my wife and I) tend to prefer salt, because it simply goes better with beer. Whatever is your preferece, put some salt or sauce on the chicken, and then start grilling.

Rotate the chicken about every 2 minutes. It can take a while to cook in between the pieces, so I normally create a bit of spaces between each pieces to speed up the process.


Anonymous said...

To get a charcoal grill taste on an electric grill, you can use a little LIQUID SMOKE. Can be found
in the canned gravy section and sometimes with the seasonings.

I like your site! Everything looks so good! I can't wait to try it!

Anonymous said...

McCormicks spice company has a grounf charcoal spice in a jar. I imagine, that crushing some High end charcoal would add better flavor than liquid smoke. The drawback, is that the charcoal seasoning turns foo black, so maybe adding to the sauce is best.
Liquid smoke is excellent, I make my own, but the charcoal tast is different than a smoke taste, IMHO.

She1972 said...

your site is very helpful, and not like those recipes which are sometimes confusing. i love japanese food. this is my first time to cook miso soup (simplest), and it tasted like what we usually order in resto. thanks. i can't wait to try your other recipes.

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