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Duck Tsukune

These Asian-style duck meatballs are great for entertaining izakaya-style. Use any leftover sauce on broiled fish or with sake-steamed chicken rice bowls.

Slideshow: Meatball Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

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  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 small dried hot chile
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 star anise pod
  • Two 1-pound duck breasts, skin reserved and meat cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Two 1-pound whole duck legs, skin reserved, meat cut into 1-inch pieces, bones discarded
  • 1 cup minced scallions (8 scallions)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon yuzu kosho
  • 1 tablespoon brown miso
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground star anise
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 6-inch wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes


  1. Make the Sauce In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 7 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and let cool completely; discard the solids.
  2. Prepare the Duck Spread the duck skin on a work surface and, using a sharp knife, scrape off any excess fat. In a large skillet, cook the skin over moderately low heat, flattening it with a spatula, until golden and nearly crisp, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the skin to a rack to drain and crisp, then break into small pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the breast and leg meat and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape the chopped meat into a large bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the oil and mix well. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and thread onto bamboo skewers.
  4. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan; oil the grate. Brush the meatballs with oil and grill over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly charred outside and medium within, about 6 minutes. Transfer the skewers to a platter, garnish with the crispy skin and serve with the sauce.

Make Ahead

The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Contributed By Photo © Madeleine Hill

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