Tsukune (Japanese) Chicken Meatballs


I love most Asian food, so this recipe got my attention -- and who doesn't love meatballs? I finally got around to making this last night, and it did not disappoint!

Full disclosure: this recipe does require a lot of ingredients (some of which you may not have on hand). I had to hunt down the soybean paste (miso) and finally found it at Wegman's. It's a bit time consuming, but it is definitely worth it if you have the time!

I served this with sauteed french green beans, but you could serve with any sort of vegetable or rice and it would be great. Enjoy! Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

4 ounces sliced shiitake mushroom caps (I used a blend of mushrooms)

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

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

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 (I left this out)

Directions: 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.

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.

NOTE: I did not use skewers b/c I didn't have any on hand, and it worked fine -- but, I do think turning them would be easier with the skewers.

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.

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.

NOTE: The cooking time took a bit longer for me; you want to make sure they are cooked all the way through. My meatballs were a bit larger, so that's probably why.

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