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Chicken-Meatball Yakitori

Sylvan Mishima Brackett makes these meatballs, known as tsukune, with hand-chopped meat and skin from the best pastured chicken he can get.


Slideshow: Japanese Recipes More Japanese Recipes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes 24 meatballs

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  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 pound coarsely ground chicken
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • Finely grated zest of 1 yuzu or lemon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. In a saucepan, combine the sake, soy sauce, sugar and 1/4 cup of the mirin; boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, 3 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a bowl, combine the chicken, salt, shallot, zest and the remaining 2 tablespoons of mirin. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Form the chicken mixture into 24 meatballs. Brush the meatballs with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and arrange them on the baking sheet. Bake for about 6 minutes, until the meatballs are barely cooked through.
  3. Light a grill. Thread the meatballs onto 8 bamboo skewers and grill over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and brush the meatballs with the sauce. Grill, turning and brushing, until glazed, 30 seconds longer. Serve with the remaining sauce.

Serve With

Yuzu or lemon wedges.

Suggested Pairing

Juicy, light-bodied red wine


Photo © Fredrika Stjarne Published March 2012

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