Serves a Crowd

Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs)

March 10, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by Arisa Slutsky
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

During this pandemic, it is not easy to visit an izakaya (Japanese tapas style restaurant), so why don't we bring an izakaya home by making these chicken bamboo shoot meatballs? They are savory, little sweet, little vinegary, and oh so lip smacking. It is a flavor combination that kids love. At the same time, these meatballs go so well with a nice bottle of sake and beer. This is a mega crowd-pleaser! —Arisa Slutsky

What You'll Need
  • Tsukune
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 ounce green onion, finely chopped
  • 3 ounces bamboo shoots, cooked and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 10 pieces Shiso leaves, but in half (optional)
  • Tsukune sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin, preferably hon mirin (real mirin)
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  1. Add the tsukune ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands. You do not need to be gentle here!
  2. Using a small ice cream spoon, form into 15 to 20 meatballs.
  3. If using Shiso leaves, wrap each meatball with a halved piece of a Shiso leave, gently pressing.
  4. Warm up a sautéed pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil once the pan is hot.
  5. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and put a lid. Turn down the heat to medium. Cook for another 3 - 4 minutes until they are almost cooked.
  6. While the meatballs are cooking, mix tsukune sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  7. Wipe the excess fat in the pan with kitchen paper, and turn down the heat to low to cool down a pan a bit. (The sauce gets burnt easily)
  8. Once the pan is cooled down, pour the sauce over the meatballs to coat. Cook down the sauce until the sauce gets slightly thickened, about a minute.

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