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Tsukune - Chicken meatballs

Yes, I'm just remaking all my favourites in restaurants that I don't get to order now. And also missing the quaint Izakayas in Japan that sometimes serve me food on paddleboard, or I find myself in these small smokey wooden shops that make me sit such that half legs are sticking out of the window for pedestrians to see.

I've tried to make chicken meatballs in the past but I realised the balls gets dried out. But I've since learnt a trick from my bestie Ramsay, you know, Gordon?

Panko, otherwise known as bread crumbs, with milk is the trick to moist balls! The only time you want your balls moist.

I've used this trick with my previous recipe as well, for the Italian meatballs.

Recipes are really flexible, especially so for cooking recipes. I'm repeating this again and again in most of my recipes. Don't worry if you don't have a specific ingredient, learn to substitute! E.g. if you don't have mayonnaise, substitute for all-milk in this recipe; vice-versa. No cilantro? Use chives/spring onion/parsely. Whatever! You're not here for an examination. Go with the flowwww baby! If it's too wet, add a little more bread crumbs, if it's a little too dry, a little more milk. BAM BAM BAM!

I would love to skewer these with bamboo sticks to make it more authentic but I haven't been able to find some. So please pretend that there are skewers sticking through these balls. If using skewers, soak them in water for at least half and hour so the sticks don't burn in the oven.

This recipe requires you to brown it on a pan over the stove first before placing it in the oven. I like this method because it locks in the juices of the meat and gives it a nice colour without drying it out, as compared to achieving the same colour in the oven when you bake it immediately without searing it first. If you don't want that hassle, just eliminate the stove-cooking and place it straight into the oven after shaping.



Serves 4 pax

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 25 mins

Chicken balls

500g minced chicken

1/4 cup milk

2 tbsp Japanese mayo (or normal mayo)

3/4 cup bread crumbs

a handful of cilantro, chopped finely

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 pinches of salt

2 tsp of Black pepper

Teriyaki glaze

1 inch ginger, grated

6 tbsp soya sauce

6 tbsp honey

3 tbsp sriracha /ketchup


Bamboo skewers (optional)

  1. In a separate bowl, mix the glaze ingredients together. Set aside.

  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients for the chicken balls together. Roughly shape into a medium-size ball (slightly smaller than your palm, but of course you can make any size you like! The smaller it is, the faster it dries out during the cooking process though. So you have to probably shorten the cooking time) before rolling it out into an oblong shape.

  3. [Optional] If you're using skewer, you can shape it on the skewer by just pressing the meat directly onto the skewer.

  4. Preheat oven to 200'c.

  5. On a grill pan, over medium heat, heat a little olive oil (just to coat your pan).

  6. Place the meatballs neatly on the pan and brush the glaze generously all over. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom is browned. Flip it over, and brush the glaze generously again. Once the other side is browned, remove and place the meatballs on a baking tray.

  7. Before placing it in the oven, do it again, GLAZE it all over! And bake in oven for about 15 minutes.

  8. You can make some extra glaze and serve it as a dip!


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