japanese asparagus yakitori with two-options

Soerenberg (bobsleigh)

Taken in Sörenberg, Canton of Lucern

This Spring I am particularly into asparagus, mostly because it is seasonal and this year’s May is much warmer than usual. We have over 30ºC these few days!!! One Sunday after golfing in France, we wanted to sample the traditional way of cooking asparagus in Alsace but they have just all sold out, then we came back to Switzerland and tried in another restaurants, still no luck. We thought it must be because the weather was so nice that a lot of people eating-out. Anyway we went on Monday and enjoyed a very nice asparagus dinner near the Birs (a 73-km long river in Switzerland that flows through the Jura region and ends as a tributary to the Rhine between Basel and Birsfelden.)

I was told not to buy the imported asparagus if you can, the good ones are from Germany and now it is accessible to get the ones from Badischer, I also like those fromAlsace too. After buying for several times this year, I learnt that only eat them when they are harvested in high season. The first time I bought in late March, the white asparagus tasted bitter and very fibery. I tried to made a soup out of it but ended up throwing the whole thing away.

At home, I like to stir fry my aspargus with thinly sliced chicken & a little yellow bean sauce, in a chinese way. Or alternatively, I would make Japanese Yakitori, wrap the asparagus with bacon or marinated pork, put them in skewers and cook them in BBQ on on a grill. My neighbour’s daughter who never like eating asparagus, she tried a skewer last week and immediately she changed her mind totally and asked for a second skewer.

To make asparagus yakitori, it is really easy, if you do not have much time, choose the non marinade option:

asparagus bacon yakitori

(i) Non-Marinade Method


  • white or green asparagus trimmed & cut off 1cm from the end, each stalk cut into 4 pieces
  • smoked streaky bacon


  1. Soak a handful of wooden skewers in a glass of water.
  2. Cut the bacon into half  to make into two pieces.
  3. Wrap a piece of cut bacon around each piece of asparagus.
  4. Put a wooden skewer through the wrapped asparagus, 4 pieces into one skewer.
  5. Cook them on a BBQ or grill for about 4 mins on each side, depending if the thicknessof your asparagus.

 Asparagus yakitori (marinated)

(ii) Marinade Method


  • white or green asparagus trimmed & cut off 1cm from the end, each stalk cut into 4 pieces
  • 350g pork or pork belly, thinly sliced, about 4-5cm long & 4cm wide)

Marinade sauce (inspired by the recipe of Harumi’s Japanese Cooking in P.115)

  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese Hoi Sin sauce
  • 1 tbsp Balsamico Aceto
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp ground sesame seeds
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • pinches black pepper
  • pinches chili pepper
  • pinches Japanese seven spices

Radish dipping sauce:

  • 5 Red radish finely grated
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

red radish dip


  1. Mix all the seasonings of the marinade in a bowl and leave for at least an hour in order.
  2. Marinate the thinly sliced pork for about 30 minutes or longer.
  3. Soak a handful of wooden skewers in a glass of water.
  4. Lie the slices marinated pork flat on a plate and wrap each slice with a piece of asparagus. Repeat for all of them.
  5. Put a wooden skewer through the wrapped asparagus, 4 pieces into one skewer.
  6. Prepare the radish dipping sauce by adding the soy sauce and vinegar to the grated radish. Cook them on a BBQ or on a grill for about 4 mins on each side, depending if the thicknessof your asparagus.


  1. Some said you should blanch the asparagus briefly for a minute in boiling water. I have tried both blanched and non-blanched. I found that it is not really necessary to blanch the asparagus as they cook fast anyway also the taste of the asparagus are kept fresher without blanching them.
  2. White radish (daikon) is normally used in the dip but the red ones are in season right now. I was very happy with the pinkish color Also if I buy the white radish, I may not be able to finish it in time due to its large size.
  3. The radish dip is served to lower the internal heat when eating fried or BBQ food, it’s always served with fried tofu, tempura kind of dishes.



For more asparagus ideas:




9 thoughts on “japanese asparagus yakitori with two-options

  1. This asparagus dish looks terrific!! georgous!! I love the white & green asparagus!! You are defenitly an asparagus connaisseur!!

  2. In the marinated version, you are using unsalted, uncured pork belly? That sounds excellent. Our friends in Normandy had a long row of asparagus in his garden—he brought sand from Omaha Beach to blanch it. We ate the most lovely white asparagus every day!

    Tess’s last blog post..Tori no Tsukune: Yakitori Meatballs

  3. Hi Tess, yes I used unsalted, uncured pork belly. They are just fresh one I bought from the butcher. You are so lucky to have a friend who has white asparagus in the garden, envy : ) I read from the book that you need 3 years to develop the soil until there is sufficient nutrients to start growing. A lot of effort to grow them…

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