Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs) is a regular Yakitori dish items. Soft and bouncy chicken meatballs are skewered and chargrilled with sweet soy sauce, i.e. yakitori sauce. The key to my soft and juicy meatballs is the grated onion and the amount of fat in the chicken mince (ground chicken).
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe so you can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
Add all the Sauce ingredients to a pot and bring it to the boil. Turn down the heat to medium or medium low and simmer for about 4-5 minutes to reduce the quantity by about a third (note 2).
Add chicken mince, chicken fat and salt in a bowl and mix well until the chicken mince becomes sticky.
Take the meatball with the spoon and drop it into the pot. Repeat this for the rest of the mince (see the step-by-step photo in post).
Boil meatballs for 5-7 minutes until cooked through (note 4). Take the meatballs out and put aside. Cook them in batches so that the surface of the boiling water is filled with no more than one layer of the meatballs.
Thread 3 Tsukune onto flat skewers (note 7).
1. You could have a mixture of 250g / 8.8oz breast mince and 250g / 8.8oz thigh mince, or 100% thigh mince.
You could have just 500g / 1.1lb of breast mince but the meatballs may be slightly dry.
2. The time taken to reduce the sauce depends on the size of the pot. The larger the diameter of the pot, the faster it reduces.
3. The size of the circle made with your thumb and index finger determines the size of the ball and therefore the number of meatballs made in total.
My meatball was 3-3.5cm / 1¼” in diameter and I made 24 meatballs.
4. Cooking time depends on the size of the meatballs. When the meatball is floating and feels light when you pick it up, it is cooked through.
5. I made Tsukune on skewers, but you could cook individually if you like. Or two/four meatballs on each skewer instead of three.
6. The heat can be strong. Because Tsukune is already cooked, all you need to do here is to coat with sauce and get them burnt slightly to give better flavour to them.
7. The flat bamboo skewers used in Yakitori are called 'teppō gushi' (鉄砲串, gun skewer) as the shape is like a gun (in the old days). You can buy teppō gushi at Japanese grocery stores. Some online shops also sell them.
8. Tsukune can be frozen. After boiling, cool them down and freeze them in an air tight container or a freezer bag. To grill, thaw them, then grill as per the instructions.
9. Nutrition per skewer.
serving: 103g calories: 169kcal fat: 8.6g (13%) saturated fat: 0.4g (12%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 1.8g monounsaturated fat: 3.5g cholesterol: 70mg (23%) sodium: 594mg (25%) potassium: 280mg (8%) carbohydrates: 6.4g (2%) dietary fibre: 0.4g (2%) sugar: 3.9g protein: 14g vitamin a: 3% vitamin c: 0.7% calcium: 1% iron: 3%