Chicken heart and thigh with yakitori sauce

Chicken heart and thigh with yakitori sauce

Earl Carter

I like to cook yakitori over hot binchotan coals. These are a Japanese charcoal, available online or in some grocery stores. I usually prepare the fire an hour before I plan on cooking the chicken. Soaking the chicken hearts in saltwater brine seasons them perfectly and makes for a juicier finish to the meat.


Quantity Ingredient
2 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
300g cleaned chicken hearts
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2 cm cubes
8 spring onions, cut into 2 cm pieces, white and pale green part only
bamboo skewers
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Yakitori sauce

Quantity Ingredient
250ml mirin
250ml light soy sauce
125ml dry sake
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 spring onions, white part only
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2cm piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced


  1. To make the yakitori sauce, bring all the ingredients to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook gently until it has reduced in volume by half. The sauce will be thick and glossy. Strain the sauce and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Stir the salt into 500 ml water until the salt has dissolved. Add the chicken hearts to the brine and leave for 3 hours in the refrigerator to cure. At the same time, soak the bamboo skewers in water, which will stop them from burning on the grill.
  3. Working with one skewer at a time, alternately thread 5 pieces of chicken thigh with 4 pieces of the spring onion, piercing the spring onion pieces perpendicular to the skewer. Brush with a little of the yakitori sauce and leave to marinate and dry in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken hearts from the brine and rinse them in cold water. Skewer the hearts and brush them with a little yakitori sauce. Leave them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate and dry.
  5. Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan to high.
  6. Brush a little grapeseed oil over the chicken hearts and thighs and cook over the hot grill, turning every minute or so and brushing the top with sauce each time you turn until the chicken is cooked through and nicely glazed, 3–4 minutes.
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