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Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs)

These meatballs make a terrific party snack. Look for flat skewers at Asian markets, or use two skewers for each group of meatballs so they'll turn easier.

Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2013

  • Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: 6 meatballs and 1 teaspoon sauce)
  • Hands-on:45 Minutes
  • Total:1 Hour, 15 Minutes


  • Meatballs:
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 4 ounces sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons red miso (soybean paste)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg white
  • Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • Remaining ingredients:
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


1. To prepare meatballs, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, and 1 tablespoon garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add sherry; cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat; cool. Place mushroom mixture and miso in a mini chopper; pulse 10 times or until very finely chopped.

2. Combine mushroom mixture, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, chicken, and next 6 ingredients (through egg white) in a bowl. Shape mixture into 36 (1-inch) meatballs. Thread 3 meatballs onto each of 12 (6-inch) flat bamboo skewers. Chill for 30 minutes.

3. To prepare sauce, combine mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in juice, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, and serrano. Reserve 2 tablespoons sauce.

4. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 6 skewers in pan; cook 9 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan; brush half of sauce over meatballs. Repeat procedure with remaining 6 skewers and sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds; serve with reserved 2 tablespoons sauce.


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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 265
  • Fat: 12.7g
  • Saturated fat: 3.1g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 3.2g
  • Protein: 22.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 12.8g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 98mg
  • Iron: 1.6mg
  • Sodium: 524mg
  • Calcium: 35mg

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Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs) recipe