Kushiyaki is a Japanese technique that includes various skewered and grilled meat, seafood, or even vegetables and tofu. The ingredients are placed on bamboo skewers and are typically seasoned with either salt (shio) or a reduced and sweetened version of soy sauce that is known as tare.Kushiyaki should always be freshly prepared and served immediately after grilling, while the typical accompaniments usually include edamame, salads, or pickled vegetables.Here is a Japanese asparagus dish using belly pork bacon, based on a meal I had in Hong Kong in 1987, where this was one of the side dishes served with yakitori chicken. It may also have been my first experience of Japanese cuisine.
- 1 charcoal grill or oven
- bamboo skewers
- 8 spear fresh asparagus
- 8 slices thinly sliced pork belly bacon
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 3 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Light the charcoal grill or preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Wash and trim the tough ends off the asparagus spears.
- In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, and honey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let it cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Wrap each asparagus spear with a belly pork rasher.
- Place the wrapped asparagus on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush the asparagus and pork with the glaze.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds over the asparagus.
- Cut into 3cm lengths, place on skewers and grill over the redhot coals or bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender and the belly pork is cooked through and slightly crispy.
Mirin is similar to sake but has more sugar and a lower alcohol content (14%). A staple in many Japanese kitchens, it pairs especially well with soy sauce. If you cannot get hold of Mirrin, you can substitute a dry sherry or a sweet marsala wine. Dry white wine or rice vinegar will also do, though you'll need to counteract the sourness with about a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon you use