Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Cover IG

Japanese Chicken Skewers – Yakitori Negima


If you happened to read our Low Carb Yakisoba recipe, you might remember how we mentioned Yakisoba is a Japanese summer festival/carnival food served across Japan!  And with summer rolling in, we thought it’d be a good time to build on that and share another summer festival dish in Yakitori! 

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Pin 1

Now Yakitori, which translate to ‘BBQ chicken’ BTW, comes in many different variations/combination.  They range from chicken skin, to chicken cartilage to quail eggs and back.  But today, we’ll be sharing the recipe for what’s considered the ‘classic yakitori’ in this Japanese Chicken Skewers – Yakitori Negima recipe!

Yakitori Negima is skewered chicken thighs with alternating green onions brushed with a semi sweet soy marinade.  And although that sounds innocent, the traditional marinate is loaded with sugar, so not exactly low-carb/keto friendly! 

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Pic 2

But fret not – we here at LCA made a low-carb/keto version for all you folks!  So the next time you’re in the mood to experience a Japanese festival food, definitely fire up the grill and give this simple recipe a go!

This dish is low-carb/keto friendly at ~1g carbs per skewer and if you’re looking to make this your main meal, I would say 3-4 skewers would fill a person up. 

The special ingredients needed for this recipe are Swerve/Monkfruit, Bonito Flakes, Soy Sauce, Toasted Sesame Seed (optional) and Japanese Sake.  All these can be picked up on Amazon (aside from Japanese sake) or a local Asian Supermarket.

Now, let’s get cooking!

Brine time 1H (optional)

Prepping Time 10M

Cooking Time 15M

Total Time 1H25M

Net Carb/Skewer ~1g

Serving 3-4 Skewers

Ingredients

Yakitori

  • 1/2 lb Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thigh (about 2-3 pieces)
  • 2 Cups Water (optional brine)
  • 1 tbsp Salt (optional brine)
  • 3 Stalk Green Onions
  • 3-4 Wooden Skewers
  • 1/8 tsp Toasted Sesame Seed (optional)

Marinade

Directions

1) Gather all the ingredients.

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (1)

2) Optional Brine – In a mixing bowl, add 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of salt.  Add chicken and brine for 1 hour.  Note – be careful not to over brine, otherwise it will come out too salty. 

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (23)

3) Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 10 minutes.

4) Finely dice garlic and set aside.

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (5)

5) In a stove top pot, add all the ingredients for the marinate – Soy Sauce, Japanese Sake, Water, Swerve/Monkfruit, Bonito Flakes, and Diced Garlic – and bring to boil.  Once boiling, reduce to simmer heat and let sauce reduce for 7-10 minutes or until slightly reduced.  Once reduced, strain sauce with strainer and make sure to squeeze/press any excess sauce from the bonito flakes.  Set aside.   Note – if you are making more sauce, it will take longer to reduce.  Note 2 – if you like stronger flavors, transfer some of the sauce into a reserve bowl and drizzle sauce before serving.  Do not drizzle sauce you used for basting as it would be contaminated.

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (24)

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (24)

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Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (27)

6) In the meantime, cut green onions into 1 inch pieces and set aside.

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (12)

7) Cut chicken into 1/2 x 1/2 cube size bites and set aside.

8) Skewer chicken loosely (do not pack in tight).  Use 3 pieces of chicken for every piece of green onion as picture shown.

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (14)

9) Preheat grill to 350F.  Once grill is preheated, reduce heat to medium-low and place skewers on the grill.   Using a basting brush, generously brush marinade on each skewer and close lid.  Rotate skewers every 2 minutes basting on each rotation and until done – should take around 8-10 minutes or once internal temp reaches 165F.  Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle optional Toasted Sesame Seed.

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (28)

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (30)

10) Optional Oven Instructions – if you don’t own a BBQ grill or located in an area where grilling is not possible, here are alternative oven instructions.  Preheat oven to 500F.  Place skewers on a baking rack in center of oven and generous brush marinade on each skewer.  Rotate every 2 minutes basting on each rotation and continue until done – should take around 8-10 minutes or once internal temp reaches 165F.  Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle optional Toasted Sesame Seed.

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Recipe (31)

Hope you enjoy your low-carb/keto Japanese Chicken Skewers – Yakitori! 

If you’re looking for other recipe ideas, be sure to check out our growing Recipe Index full of Asian inspired recipes!

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More Recipes

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Pin 2

Keto Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Cover IG

Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Negima

The BEST Asian Low-Carb/Keto recipe for Japanese Chicken Skewers - Yakitori Negima.  Enjoy this delicious traditional festival food at only ~1g Net Carb/Skewer. Step by step directions with pictures makes this recipe quick and easy.
4.2 from 5 votes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: ketojapanesebbqchicken, ketojapanesechickenskewer, ketoyakitori, lowcarbjapanaesechickenskewer, lowcarbjapanesebbqchicken, lowcarbyakitori
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Brine Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 3 Skewers
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Yakitori

  • 1/2 lb Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thigh (about 2-3 pieces)
  • 2 Cups Water (optional brine)
  • 1 tbsp Salt (optional brine)
  • 3 Stalk Green Onions
  • 3-4 Pieces Wooden Skewers
  • 1/8 tsp Toasted Sesame Seed (optional)

Marinade

  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Japanese Sake
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Swerve/Monkfruit
  • 1/2 Cup Bonito Flakes
  • 1 Clove Garlic

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
  • Optional Brine - In a mixing bowl, add 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of salt. Add chicken and brine for 1 hour. Note - be careful not to over brine, otherwise it will come out too salty. 
  • Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Finely dice garlic and set aside.
  • In a stove top pot, add all the ingredients for the marinate - Soy Sauce, Japanese Sake, Water, Swerve/Monkfruit, Bonito Flakes, and Diced Garlic - and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer heat and let sauce reduce for 7-10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Once reduced, strain sauce with strainer and make sure to squeeze/press any excess sauce from the bonito flakes. Set aside. Note - if you are making more sauce, it will take longer to reduce. Note 2 - if you like stronger flavors, transfer some of the sauce into a reserve bowl and drizzle sauce before serving. Do not drizzle sauce you used for basting as it would be contaminated.
  • In the meantime, cut green onions into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
  • Cut into 1/2 x 1/2 cube size bites and set aside.
  • Skewer chicken loosely (do not pack in tight). Use 3 pieces of chicken for every piece of green onion as picture shown.
  • Preheat grill to 350F. Once grill is preheated, reduce heat to medium-low and place skewers on the grill. Using a basting brush, generously brush marinade on each skewer and close lid. Rotate skewers every 2 minutes basting on each rotation and until done - should take around 8-10 minutes or once internal temp reaches 165F. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle optional Toasted Sesame Seed.
  • Optional Oven Instructions - if you don't own a BBQ grill or located in an area where grilling is not possible, here are alternative oven instructions. Preheat oven to 500F. Place skewers on a baking rack in center of oven and generous brush marinade on each skewer. Rotate every 2 minutes basting on each rotation and continue until done - should take around 8-10 minutes or once internal temp reaches 165F. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle optional Toasted Sesame Seed.

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