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If you like shish kabobs, you're going to love the Japanese version called kushiyaki. They're a little shorter than the Western style ones, so you get more of a variety of different kinds to make up a meal. At restaurants, it's really similar to ordering sushi, where the chef prepares them while you wait. He may even do the omakase, which is "I'll leave it up to you," or "surprise me." At home, if you have a Zojirushi Fish Roaster, you can easily grill these delightful little appetizers by yourself without the need for a BBQ grill or even to go outdoors.
This month's kushiyaki special features some easy to prepare skewers, including the classic tsukune and a couple of other interesting ones you can try. Tsukune is a favorite menu item of YAKITORI, which you might be more familiar with than kushiyaki. Yes, there's a difference--read on and we'll tell you what it is! The secret to fabulous kushiyaki is to prepare them carefully and then to grill them just right. Don't forget to soak your bamboo skewers in water first, to prevent burning.
This classic is on every menu at any kushiyaki (yakitori) restaurant. You'll usually see them as meatballs on a stick, but sometimes it will simply be in one, elongated piece on the skewer. A delightful savory/sweet, teriyaki style sauce flavors the grilled chicken.
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It's always fun to stuff mushrooms, and even more fun to use potatoes. The juice from the mushrooms will flavor the potato as it grills, creating an aromatic skewer treat!
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This is a colorful combination that's pleasing to look at as you satisfy your taste buds! Each bite from this skewer offers the crunchy snap of asparagus or the smoky flavor of grilled shrimp.
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Neat idea! Toasty rice patties instead of bread buns for your meat burger. This recipe calls for ground chicken burgers, but you can easily substitute tofu to make it completely vegetarian!
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Most Westerners are familiar with Yakitori because the word is used generically for these mini kabobs on 6-inch sticks. But the Japanese word "tori" actually means chicken, so in Japan, yakitori are skewers which mainly use chicken as one of the ingredients, whether it be grilled thigh meat, barbecued chicken skin, or ground chicken (tsukune). On the other hand, kushiyaki refers to any of a variety of skewer types, like stuffed mushrooms, pork and green onion, bacon-wrapped asparagus, etc., of which yakitori is one variation. Just remember this: yakitori means "grilled chicken"; kushiyaki means "grilled on a stick". One definitely sounds broader than the other, right?
One thing you'll want to appreciate, whether you're having kushiyaki or yakitori, is that if you had it at a restaurant, it was probably grilled over white hot Binchotan charcoal. This super hard charcoal is preferred by kushiyaki chefs because it burns slowly and releases no odor like regular black charcoal. Binchotan is made from a slow growing, hard Japanese oak, carefully selected for the quality of the wood and from certain parts of the tree. It is then fired at extremely high temperatures with restricted oxygen, and cooled immediately to incinerate the bark, leaving a smooth, hard surface. The process requires careful monitoring and a skillful handling of temperature and firing time. The making of Binchotan is the work of true charcoal artisans.
Types of Yakitori
Tsukune: Ground chicken. In addition to the thin teriyaki style sauce, a favorite condiment to add to this one is shichimi, a blended mix of red chili pepper and other ingredients.
Negima: One of the most popular styles, bite-sized chicken thigh is alternated with short stalks of green onion. This one is also flavored like the tsukune.
Kawa: Chicken skin, grilled to a crisp outer texture. A very tasty part of the chicken that isn't as fatty as you might think.
Reba: Chicken liver--unlike beef liver, the chicken's isn't as grainy tasting. Kind of rubbery but popular among aficionados.
Sunagimo: Chicken gizzards--as you've guessed by now, no part of the chicken goes uneaten when it comes to Yakitori.
Types of Kushiyaki
Asupara Bacon: Asparagus wrapped in bacon. Crisp bacon and crunchy asparagus--a combination that turns asparagus haters into lovers.
Shishito: Thin skinned mild peppers, named for the belief that the head of the pepper resembles the head of a lion (shishi). You'll get 1 in 10 that actually burns.
Ginnan: Ginko seeds, usually pierced three on a stick, grilled and salted, are popular for their supposed memory improving powers as well as their nutty taste.
Shishamo: A Smelt fish, skewered whole and grilled crispy near the head and tail so it's easy to eat everything. Often filled with tiny roe in its belly--delicious!
Did you know you can have Kushiyaki at home too? All you need is one of our tabletop Fish Roasters--these very versatile appliances aren't just for fish! Anything you'd want to roast indoors, without odor, with total safety, and with family and friends at the dining table, you can do with a Zojirushi Fish Roaster!
Platinum catalytic filter on lid reduces up to 90% of smoke and odor
Top and bottom heating elements allow even cooking without flipping foods. Furthermore, the two heat reflectors work in tandem to enhance crispiness
It only takes little space, yet the extra wide roasting rack accommodates large fish and meats
Insulated vacuum technology in a drinking tumbler!
Keep icy drinks cold longer, or get cozy with a hot favorite for hours!
Special manufacturing technique applied to round the sip area for drinking comfort
Stainless steel vacuum insulation prevents condensation on the outside when filled with cold drinks
Tumbler exterior does not get hot when filled with hot drinks, providing an easy and comfortable grip
Excellent temperature retention keeps ice longer so cold drinks can be enjoyed without the worry of dilution
SlickSteel® polished stainless steel interior is easy to clean while allowing the color of the drink to shine through
Available in 15 and 20 oz. capacities
Zojirushi America Corporation warrants only the thermal insulation of certain vacuum insulated products against defects for a period of five years from the date of original retail purchase
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