I asked around what to make for lunch one day, and Doin gave me this wry look and said, Yakitori?
There is a wonderful Yakitori restaurant called Torishige (鳥茂) in Gotanda, Tokyo where we’ve been on many a night out with Hojosan. The owners are members of his temple, and he often goes there to visit and eat. It is exceptionally good, but you would be in for a surprise. Black spindly dust webs float from the lamps and curious decorations, and many of the skewers are not exactly for the faint-hearted. Happily, they serve a delicious vegetable skewer with ginkgo nuts, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.
As we have no grill, we bake the skewers in the oven. However, if you have a grill please use it instead. In this recipe we used some colourful mixed veggies. You can also make your own variety by using any kind of “soft” vegetables, such as leeks, brocolli, and green onions. (About 250 g 〈8 ounces〉 per person should be plenty.)
Handful of wooden skewers
125 g (1¼ cups) mushrooms
1 aubergine (eggplant)
1 courgette (zuchinni)
1 medium red onion
1 red bell pepper
200 g (7 ounces) tempeh
125 g (¾ cup) cherry tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
125 ml (½ cup) sake
80 ml (⅓ cup) soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
- Soak the wooden skewers in water for half an hour.
- Clean the mushrooms, keeping them whole.
- Cut the aubergine, courgette, onion, red pepper, and tempeh into equal sized chunks, about 2cm (1″) across.. Toss them with the cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, soy sauce, and olive oil.
- Thread the vegetables onto the skewers, either by alternating the colours or keeping them together, leaving a small gap between each item to assist the baking process. Drizzle any left-over marinade over the skewered vegetables.
- Pre-heat the oven to 210 °C (425 °F).
- Lie the skewers on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned and tender.
- While they are baking, put the yakitori sauce in a small saucepan, bring to a boil then simmer, uncovered, on a low flame for about twenty minutes. Stir now and then to prevent sticking.
- When the vegetable skewers come out of the oven, brush them with the yakitori sauce and enjoy.
- Serve alongside sushi rice.