Yakitori Donburi | Japanese Grilled Chicken Rice Bowl | Flexitarian Series

Posted: May 01 2020

This recipe is inspired by one of Dan's favourite memories of living in Japan. After a long day of teaching, he would get off the train and as he left the train station, the sweet smell of yakitori was intoxicating. With the grill set up right on the sidewalk, the aroma of charcoal and grilled meat and veggies filled the air. Munching on couple of sticks yakitori on his walk home, Dan fell in love with Japanese food.

In Japanese, Yakitori Donburi means grilled chicken rice bowl. The key to a great dish is the sauce. You can buy a teriyaki sauce at most grocery stores but making it yourself is so easy and much better. This yakitori sauce recipe is simple and delicious.

Although yakitori is generally skewered chicken cooked over charcoal, this easy version skips the cutting and skewering of the chicken which can be very time consuming. We also love this recipe as you are not required to marinate anything making it a quick weeknight meal. 

Although there is chicken in this recipe, firm tofu sliced, grilled and drizzled with sauce can be substituted for the chicken. This yakitori rice bowl is a favourite at our home. Hopefully it becomes one of yours as well.

Flexitarian Series - Our family is trying to eat less meat for our health and the environment. This is one of the meals that we choose to eat meat. However, the portion size is much smaller than normal with a majority of the rice being covered with lots of delicious vegetables. We also forgo the skewers as we prefer to save the time and the trees!




Yakitori Donburi


serves 4
cook time - 30 minutes


2 cups sushi rice
4 boneless chicken thighs or 350g firm tofu
4 green onions
4 cups (150-200g) mixed mushrooms, enoki, shiitake, shimeji, button, cremini etc.
2 carrots, grated
2 medium heads broccoli
Sprinkle white sesame seeds
Sprinkle black sesame seeds
Togarashi - Japanese 7 spice blend (optional)
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mirin



Preheat your BBQ to medium or oven broiler to 425F or high.

Rinse the rice and cook in rice cooker or on stove according to package instructions.

Add ingredients for sauce into a small pot and turn on heat to medium. Lower temperature when it starts to simmer. It should take about 15- 20 minutes on low to reduce until it just covers the back of a wooden spoon. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn.

Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces and trim the roots off your green onions.

Lightly oil a wire rack over a sheet pan or BBQ.

If cooking on the BBQ place all the ingredients and the chicken skin down and set a timer for 6 minutes. Keep an eye on them and flip for another 6 minutes. Remove vegetables from grill when they are lightly charred. Make sure your chicken is cooked, an internal temperature of 165F or it is no longer pink when cut into.

If you using your oven, make sure your rack
is at least 6 inches from the broiler. Place all your ingredients on a wire rack over a sheet pan. Place in the oven and set a timer for 3 minutes. The vegetables should take around 6-10 minutes flipping once in between and the chicken should take 6 minutes per side. Keep an eye on it checking every 3 minutes as all ovens cook differently. Make sure your chicken is cooked, an internal temperature of 165F or it is no longer pink when cut into.

Meanwhile, grate the carrots.

Once everything is cooked through, use a pastry brush, coat one side of your veggies and chicken and put back in the oven. The sauce has a high sugar content so you only want to leave it for about 1 minute or it will burn and taste bitter. Then sauce up the other side and cook for 1 more minute. This will caramelize the sauce to the veggies and chicken.

Chop up all the ingredients into bite sized pieces and build your bowls with rice, chicken, roasted veggies and carrots. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onion and togarashi.


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