Sweet Japanese kabobs make quick meal

Little work is needed to make these Japanese kabobs. Known in Japan as yakitori, they’re made with a sweet Japanese barbecue sauce. Serve the chicken over sesame-flavored rice to complete this 20-minute dinner.

In Japan, clouds of aromatic smoke waft off the grill at yakitori stands, making these chicken kabobs a popular stopping off place for an after-work snack. I’ve added vegetables to the skewers and served it over rice to make an entire meal.

The secret to quick and even kabob cooking is to leave a little space on the skewer between each piece of chicken. This allows the chicken to cook through on all sides.

Use the sauce given in the recipe or if pressed for time, use a thick, bottled teriyaki sauce and stir in some sliced scallions.

Helpful hints:

  • Any type of mushrooms can be used.
  • The skewers can also be cooked in a broiler or an outdoor grill.


  • Make sauce and marinate chicken, mushrooms and red peppers.
  • Heat a stovetop grill.
  • Make rice.
  • Skewer and cook kabobs.

Shopping list:

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.

To buy: 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, 1 red bell pepper, 1 small bottle low-sodium soy sauce. 1 small bottle sesame oil, 1 package microwaveable brown rice and 1 small bottle rice vinegar.

Staples: vegetable oil spray, sugar, salt and black peppercorns.

Chicken and Shiitake Yakitori (Japanese Grilled Chicken Skewers)

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

Vegetable oil spray

4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms (about 8 mushrooms)

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces

4 skewers

Heat a stovetop grill over high heat. Spray with vegetable oil spray. Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Add chicken, mushrooms and peppers and marinate 5 minutes while making the rice. Reserving the marinade, place chicken, mushroom and red pepper on skewers, alternating until the skewers are full. Leave at least 1/4-inch space between ingredients. Place on stovetop grill and cook 5 minutes turn and cook 5 more minutes.

Bring reserved marinade to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Serve skewers over Sesame Rice and drizzle marinade on top.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 377 calories (17 percent from fat), 7 g fat (1.2 g saturated, 2.5 g monounsaturated), 126 mg cholesterol, 43.1 g protein, 32.9 g carbohydrates, 1.7 g fiber, 1,107 mg sodium.

Sesame Rice

Recipe by Linda Gasseheimer

1 package microwave brown rice (1 1/2 cups cooked)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Microwave rice according to package instructions. Measure 1 1/2-cup rice and reserve remaining rice for another time. Add oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 246 calories (30 percent from fat), 5.2 g fat (1.4 g saturated, 3.2 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.2 g protein, 38.8 g carbohydrates, 2.4 g fiber, 6 mg sodium.

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