Food is the cornerstone of any culture, and a cuisine’s signature food dishes are often deeply rooted in tradition.
Yakitori, or grilled chicken skewers, is one such dish.
While you can enjoy yakitori year-round, it’s especially popular during the spring, summer, and autumn months.
Yakitori restaurants across Japan typically serve it with a variety of side dishes.
In this article, you will some ideas for complementary side dishes that will make your next meal out on the town extra special.
Chicken yakitori is a Japanese dish that is usually served on a bamboo skewer.
It can be made of grilled chicken breast, thigh, or gizzard and heart; some people also use other parts of the bird.
The word “yakitori” literally translates to “grilled chicken,” though it doesn’t have to be limited to just chicken meat—it’s often made with duck as well!
Chicken yakitori can be an appetizer for parties or the main course for a dinner meal.
Many people enjoy eating yakitori because it has a smoky flavor from being cooked over charcoal or wood chips, while still retaining its natural sweetness and the flavors from the seasonings and marinades.
The most important part of any recipe (including this chicken yakitori recipe) is finding the right combination of flavors.
People often opt for the homemade sauce, which is often made of some Japanese staples like soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar to marinade the chicken skewers before grilling.
If you are looking for ideas to serve with your chicken yakitori, here are some side dish suggestions that we believe that you would love to try all of them:
Jasmine rice is a fragrant rice that is a staple in many Asian cuisines.
It pairs well with chicken yakitori as it absorbs the flavor of the sauce without becoming too soft.
Jasmine rice is easy to make and will be best served warm, making it ideal for serving with this dish.
For the best results, cook the rice according to package instructions (make sure not to overcook).
Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork and drizzle in some sesame oil to enhance its flavor.
Zucchini crisps are an excellent way to use up a glut of zucchini.
You can make them with a mandoline or vegetable peeler, but if you have the space and budget, buy yourself a spiralizer so you can make them quickly and easily.
The flavor of zucchini is mild, so it’s important to season these crisps well.
Try sprinkling them with salt and pepper, or use a spice mix like chili powder or smoked paprika.
However, if you prefer that mild flavor to offset the savory and salty taste of the main course, it will be fine to leave the zucchini as it is without seasoning.
Grilled vegetable skewers
Vegetable skewers are a great way to add variety and color to your yakitori party.
You can make them with any vegetable, but here are some of our favorites:
- Bell peppers (red or green)
To prepare your vegetable skewers, simply cut the vegetables into bite-sized or slightly larger pieces.
Make sure they’re not too small or they’ll fall off the skewer when you turn them over on the grill!
They should be equal in size to be evenly cooked.
You can cook them with or without any seasoning, but if you would like to add some flavor, try marinating them in olive oil and soy sauce before grilling.
Udon noodles are a popular Japanese noodle that is made from wheat flour and water.
They’re served in broth or as a cold salad and make for an excellent side dish for chicken yakitori.
You can find udon noodles at most Asian grocery stores, and if you’re looking for a quick meal, you can boil them and serve them with chicken yakitori.
Just make sure to drain off any excess water before serving!
Rainbow carrot sesame salad
This salad is a fun take on the classic carrot slaw.
The vibrant color comes from the rainbow carrots and makes this dish a real showstopper.
The dressing is made with sesame oil, which is rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Tossing the salad with freshly prepared sesame seeds adds another layer of flavor and texture to the mix!
The best part about this recipe?
It tastes better after it sits for a day or two—so it’s perfect for a party or potluck!
Enoki mushrooms are delicate, white mushrooms that have a mild flavor.
They’re a perfect accompaniment to chicken yakitori because they don’t overpower the delicate meat.
Enoki pancakes are made from ground enoki mushrooms and flour, which makes them crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
They’re also packed with umami flavor thanks to kombu dashi (soup stock), soy sauce, shio koji (mold used for fermenting), and salted seaweed flakes that are mixed into the batter.
If you’ll be making these ahead of time, store them between sheets of parchment paper stacked onto itself so moisture doesn’t get trapped underneath when refrigerated overnight before frying up tomorrow night’s dinner!
Last but not least, lettuce wraps are also a popular choice when it comes to a chicken yakitori side dish.
Lettuce wraps are a healthy alternative to bread, which is good for you and your waistline.
They’re also a great way to use up leftover chicken, vegetables, and other leftovers—as long as you have some lettuce in your fridge.
You can make lettuce wraps with almost any kind of filling: from buffalo chicken to pulled pork to just plain old grilled steak or even veggies only for the vegan version.
Once you have these basic ingredients ready in your kitchen pantry, it’s time to get cooking!
And there you have it!
We hope that this list of accompaniments to chicken yakitori has been helpful in your search to find the perfect pairing.
You can use any of these suggestions as inspiration for your own meal, whether it’s a traditional Japanese dish or something more modern.
If you end up coming across something else delicious while eating at our restaurant, don’t forget to let us know—we love trying new things too!