Yakitori Sandwiches

It may not really be BBQ season anymore, but don’t let that stop you making these delicious Yakitori Buns. Sweet, sticky smokey chicken thigh yakitori, sweet and sour pickles, grilled spring onions, togarashi mayonnaise…

Done in 3 hours

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I went to Japan back in 2018 and ate a lot of yakitori. There are few things more pleasurable than sitting in a rickety alley-side restaurant near Shinjuku station eating a smorgasbord of grilled chicken bits. This is my attempt to bring those flavours back to England and put them in a sandwich. The results were pretty great, even if it rained.


In a medium saucepan, heat the soy sauce, mirin, caster sugar, sake and optional chicken stock over a medium heat. Stir constantly and watch out as this guy tends to boil over!

Reduce by a third until thickened, then set aside to cool and pour over the chicken thighs in a bowl, then leave to marinate for up to four hours, minimum one hour.

MEANWHILE (or preferably the day before), create the delicious pickles. Whisk the hot water, vinegar, sugar and salt together until dissolved, then pour over the vegetables. Cover and leave to sit for at least four hours, but they really come into their own after a day. You'll have plenty to left over for other culinary projects or to just eat by the spoonful as I do.

Whisk together the ingredients for the mayonnaise and set aside.

Skewer the chicken thighs on thick metal skewers with the leeks.

Light a charcoal BBQ and move the coals to one side, creating a space for indirect grilling. Place the yakitori on this side and gently grill until cooked through - be careful as the glaze can very easily burn.

Move the skewers over to directly over the coals to get some caramelisation, then remove them from the heat and finely chop the leeks.

Whack it all in a bun!

What do you think of the recipe?

Hugh Woodward

Hugh Woodward

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