Chicken Yakitori Sticks with Sesame Steamed Vinegar Rice and Chinese Pickled Salad


This is one of my favorite Japanese recipes and, teamed with Chinese pickled salad and sushi-style vinegar rice, it makes a healthy dinner that is easy to cook. You could also make the chicken sticks as a starter accompanied with the pickled salad. ‘Yakitori’ simply means grilled skewered meat. This recipe sees the liberal use of soy sauce – the one ingredient that Chinese and Japanese cuisines have in common. Wonderful!

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus marinating
Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 14 oz skinless chicken breast, thickly sliced

For the Marinade

  • ½ cup light soy sauce
  • ½ cup sake
  • ½ cup mirin
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

For the Vinegar Rice

  • 1⅓ cups sushi-style short grain rice, washed until the water runs clear and drained well
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • toasted white and black sesame seeds
  • 8-10 bamboo skewers, soaked in water
  • Chinese Pickled Salad


  1. Put all the marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken to the bowl and marinate for as long as possible, ideally overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 or heat a griddle pan until hot.
  3. Skewer the chicken breasts then bake in the oven for 15 minutes or on a hot griddle, turning regularly, until brown on all sides.
  4. Put the rice and water in a medium pan with a tight-fitting lid and boil until only a little of the water covers the rice. Reduce the heat and let the rice simmer for about 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for a few minutes, then add the rice vinegar and mix well with a flat wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Make the Pickled Salad and mix well to allow the sauce to pickle the vegetables.
  6. Put the Chinese Pickled Salad on a plate and top with the chicken yakitori sticks. Serve the steamed vinegar rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds, in a separate bowl.