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Yakitori Chicken Paillard with Cucumber Avocado Salad

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Jeffrey Larsen

Total time 45 mins

Serves 4

The Japanese dish chicken yakitori is traditionally made on skewers, but grilling thin chicken breasts instead is even more weeknight-friendly. Marinate a day ahead for extra flavor.


  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1/3 cup sake (rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 coins fresh ginger, smashed
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 lbs. total), pounded to 1/2 in. all over
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 English cucumber (10 oz.), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-in. chunks
  • 1 cup slivered red onion
  • 1 large avocado, cut into 1-in. chunks
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Nutrition Information

  • calories 567
  • caloriesfromfat 18 %
  • protein 38 g
  • fat 11 g
  • satfat 2.1 g
  • carbohydrate 59 g
  • fiber 4 g
  • sodium 1278 mg
  • cholesterol 94 mg

How to Make It

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine mirin, sake, 1/2 cup sugar, the ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar has dissolved and sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. To cool quickly, pour into a heatproof 9- by 13-in. pan and refrigerate until cool. Add chicken and toss to coat. Chill and marinate at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

  2. Heat a grill to medium-high (450°). Transfer chicken to a platter. Pour marinade into a small saucepan and boil to make a syrupy sauce, about 8 minutes. Discard ginger and garlic.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, and 1 tsp. sugar. Add cucumber and onion; toss to coat.

  4. Grill chicken, turning once, until no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 2 minutes per side. Coat chicken all over with reduced marinade.

  5. Add avocado to salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve chicken with salad and remaining sauce, for drizzling.