Japanese Chicken Meatballs (Tsukune)

These are delicious! I used ground turley instead of chicken because that is what we had. This recipe is from Eating Well’s July/August 2011 issue. The recipe makes 6 servings.






Japanese Chicken Meatballs (Tsukune)

Chicken Meatballs

2 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Sweet Soy Glaze

1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water


18 scallions, trimmed
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted


To prepare meatballs: Place shiitakes in a small bowl; cover with boiling water and let soak for 45 minutes. Drain the mushrooms. Remove and discard the stems; finely chop the caps. Combine the chopped caps, ground chicken (or turkey), breadcrumbs, egg white, scallion whites, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently mix and squeeze until well combined. Use a generous 2 tablespoons each to shape the mixture into 24 meatballs. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

To prepare glaze: Combine mirin (or sherry), soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar and ginger in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the cornstarch-water mixture, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, 2 to 5 minutes.

To prepare kebabs: Preheat half to two-thirds of a gas grill to medium-high (1 burner if you have a 2-burner grill; 2 burners on a 3-burner grill) or build a medium-high-heat fire on one side of a charcoal grill.

Thread the meatballs onto flat metal skewers, 4 per skewer. Oil the grill rack (see Tips). Grill the kebabs over direct heat, turning once, until marked, 5 to 6 minutes per side. (If you try to turn the kebabs too early, the meatballs will stick to the grill. Let them cook for a minute or two longer before turning so the meat will release from the grill.) Move the kebabs to the unlit side. Brush the tops with the glaze and grill for 2 minutes. Turn the kebabs over, brush with more glaze and grill for about 2 minutes more. Remove to a clean large serving platter; tent with foil to keep warm.

Grill scallions over direct heat, lightly brushing them with some of the glaze and turning frequently so the glaze doesn’t burn, until tender-crisp and with a few char marks, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer to the platter.

Drizzle the kebabs with any leftover glaze and sesame oil; sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Per serving – Calories: 272, Total Fat: 11g, Sat. Fat: 3g, Carbs: 20g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 23g 


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