Ume-Shiso Yakitori

Summertime brings with it the perfect excuse to indulge in the simple pleasure of having a BBQ. The sun shines brightly in the clear blue sky as the tantalizing aroma of sizzling meat fills the air. The warm weather and the delicious feast create an unforgettable experience, making BBQ in summer a cherished tradition to look forward to year after year.

This summer we fall in love with yakitori, bursting with traditional flavors and a contemporary twist, this dish is a perfect representation of Japan’s rich culinary heritage. We delve into the world of savory grilled skewers infused with the delightful combination of Ume (plum) and Shiso (perilla) leaves!

What is Ume-Shiso Yakitori?

Yakitori is a classic Japanese dish, where bite-sized pieces of meat, vegetables, or seafood are threaded onto skewers and grilled to perfection. Ume-Shiso Yakitori takes this beloved street food to new heights by introducing the dynamic duo of Ume and Shiso. Ume, with its tangy and subtly sweet flavor, pairs beautifully with the aromatic, minty notes of Shiso, creating a symphony of tastes in each delectable bite.

Good Marinade is Key

To elevate the flavor profile of our Ume-Shiso Yakitori, a special marinade is prepared. Typically, it consists of a harmonious blend of soy sauce, mirin, sake, grated ginger, minced garlic, and a touch of brown sugar for balance. This tantalizing concoction imparts a mouthwatering umami taste to the skewered ingredients while enhancing the natural sweetness of the Ume and the earthiness of Shiso.

The Grilling Process

The secret to a perfect Yakitori lies in the grilling process. Skewers are carefully basted with the flavorful marinade throughout the cooking time, ensuring they remain juicy and infused with umami goodness. The grill imparts a smoky char, adding depth to the overall taste experience. It’s crucial to grill the skewers just long enough to achieve that tantalizing crispness while keeping the meat tender and succulent.

To complement the delicate balance of flavors in Ume-Shiso Yakitori, consider pairing it with a chilled glass of sake or a light Japanese beer. The refreshing beverages will cleanse your palate between bites, allowing you to fully appreciate the symphony of tastes in each skewer.

Have you ever tried Ume-Shiso Yakitori? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Until next time, happy grilling and bon appétit!

xoxo, Joe

Ume-Shiso Yakitori


  • 500g boneless chicken thighs (or your preferred protein choice)

  • 10-12 fresh shiso (perilla) leaves

  • 10-12 small green or red plums (Ume), pitted

  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

  • For the Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup mirin

  • 2 tablespoons sake

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar


  • In a mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, mirin, sake, grated ginger, minced garlic, and brown sugar. Stir well until the sugar dissolves completely. Set aside.
  • Cut the boneless chicken thighs (or your preferred protein) into bite-sized pieces. If using plums with pits, carefully remove the pits. Rinse the shiso leaves and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Place the chicken pieces and pitted plums in a large resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over them, ensuring everything is evenly coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour (ideally 2-4 hours) to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Preheat your grill or BBQ to medium-high heat. Thread the marinated chicken pieces and plums onto the soaked wooden skewers alternately, adding a shiso leaf between each piece for that delightful Ume-Shiso flavor.
  • Oil the grill grates to prevent sticking. Place the skewers on the preheated grill and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, basting them with the remaining marinade as they cook. Continue to grill until the chicken is fully cooked and has a nice charred appearance.
  • Transfer the Ume-Shiso Yakitori to a serving platter, and garnish with additional fresh shiso leaves for a vibrant presentation. Serve the skewers hot alongside steamed rice or your favorite side dishes. Savor the exquisite blend of flavors and textures, and relish the taste of summer-infused Japanese delicacy.

No Comments

    Leave a Reply