Broiled Tsukune Chicken Meatballs

Japanese chicken meatballs, known in Japan as tsukune (つくね), are popular in yakitori shops. The amazing thing about these meatballs is that once you prepare the raw meat, you can grill them, broil them, bake them, fry them or even cook them in a hotpot.

Japanese chicken meatballs, known in Japan as tsukune (つくね), are popular in yakitori shops.  The amazing thing about these meatballs is that once you prepare the raw meat, you can grill them, broil them, bake them, fry them or even cook them in a hotpot.

When grilled, tsukune can be brushed with yakitori salt while cooking which will give it a dark brown color.  It can also be served without yakitori sauce and served with salt instead.  Another popular condiment for tsukune is shichimi, or Japanese seven-spice, which is very hot and spicy.

Broiled Tsukune Chicken Meatballs

Many yakitori shops grind up chicken cartilage and add it to the meat.  Our recipe uses chopped renkon (lotus root) which remains crunchy after cooking and mimics the texture of authentic tsukune.   These tsukune use ground chicken thigh meat which remains moist then cooking, and also mixes in renkon, potato starch, herbs and spices.  You can top them off with sauce, or serve it plain with salt or shichimi (Japanese 7 Spice mix).

PREP COOKING YIELD
15 min 30 mins Serves 6 (12 patties)
PREP 15 min
COOKING 30 mins
YIELD Serves 6 (12 patties)

Ingredients:

  • 400g ground chicken thigh
  • 100g finely chopped renkon*
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion-50g
  • 1 TBSP fresh grated ginger
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/8 cup katakuriko or cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBSP chicken bouillon powder
  • Yakotori sauce or shichimi

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C
  • Combine chicken, egg, renkon, ginger, scallions, shiso, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Mix well with a spoon or by hand until completely combined.

  • Gradually mix in the katakuriko until all ingredients are combined.

  • Form into oblong patties and place on a baking pan over parchment paper.

  • Broil at 400F/200C for 15 minutes.

  • Turn and broil 5 more minutes.

  • Serve with salt, shichimi or yakitori sauce.

Notes:

  • Some restaurants use chopped up cartilage to add a crunch.  In this recipe, renkon is used to add some crunchiness to the tsukune instead of cartilage.  If you don’t have access to renkon, you can substitute water chestnuts or even white daikon radish.

 

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