The Unusual Suspects, Part One: Skin and Bone
At Bincho we pride ourselves on keeping the yakitori list as authentic as possible.
Unfortunately due to some members of the public being easily offended, the more ‘obscure’ items have had to be removed from the main menu.
These parts known to us simply as ‘the naughty bits’ are still available ‘off the menu’, although due to their very nature are only produced in small quantities.
In the first of 2 parts we would like to introduce some of these items and explain a little bit about them.
Kawa - Chicken skin
This skewer is without doubt the most requested ‘off menu’ item we make. Hugely popular to the point that in Soho a cult following has developed, known to us simply as ‘skinheads’ these devotees will arrive en masse and spare for the odd bowl of rice will eat not much else.
Unfortunately for us it is also one of the most time consuming to prepare; a labour of love.
We only use the skin from the breast and upper thigh which has a lesser fat content and tends to crisp easier. The skin is first scraped of excess fat before being blanched quickly in boiling water which helps remove impurities and excess fat; it is then cooled and cut into strips before being threaded on to skewers.
The skewers are then grilled over low heat for about 45 minutes, usually in the afternoon between service.
During service the skewers are just crisped up and then finished in tare.
Nankotsu – Soft Bone [cartilage]
The hardest ‘sell ‘ of any of our skewers to the Western clientele but the one of the most popular amongst the Japanese.
The idea of chewing on a piece of cartlidge is not everybody’s cup of sencha but once used to the texture the flavour is undeniably amongst the best on the bird.
There are 2 nankotsu – the prefered for grilling is the part on the front of the breast bone whilst the soft bit between the leg joint is more preferential to deep frying.
Bonjiri – Tail /Parsons nose [or as its known amongst the staff ‘a great piece of Ass’]
This is quite rare even by our standards -it takes 4 tails slit into two and then de-boned to make one skewer.
Flavour-wise this is very similar to the oysters but with a much higher fat content and even more juicy –often we will serve this with ponzu or yuzu salt.
Tanuki – Stuffed shitake mushroom
Not actually a chicken part but definitely worth a mention. This extremely popular skewer was thought up by our friends at Gonpachi in Tokyo and is named after the white belly of a racoon.
Chicken thigh is minced with the a touch of liver and heart for good measure. It is then beaten with vegetables, ginger and sansho pepper and stuffed into the mushroom before grilling with lots of Tare . Many of our regulars ask for this to be served with a raw egg yolk or ‘onsen Tamago ‘ as a dip.
Segimo – Chicken Kidney
This is another particularly gruesome part, anyone who has picked the meat off a roast chicken carcass on a Sunday evening may have come across this dark brown oddity.
The flavour when grilled is intense…..think liver x 10!
To be continued………