All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Tsukune no teriyaki / grilled chicken meatballs with teriyaki sauce

One of everyone's favorite chicken dishes. A subtle ginger flavor adds a refreshing note to the teriyaki sauce.

For tsukune meatballs

270-300 g ground chicken
Pinch salt
Pinch sugar
2 tsp sake
1 knob ginger
1/2 tsp miso
1 green onion
1/2 egg

For teriyaki sauce

3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sake
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 knob ginger


Prepare tsukune.
Grate ginger, and finely chop green onion.

In a bowl, put chicken, add salt, and mix well for several minutes.

Add sugar, sake, ginger (juice only), miso, green onion and egg in this order, and mix well each time.


Bring water to boil. Scoop chicken mixture with a spoon, scrape off mixture with another spoon into boiling water, and cook on low heat.

Tsukune will sink at first and then come to the surface.

When tsukune meatballs are floating, remove from boiling water, and put in ice water.

Once cool, put a few tsukune on each skewer. Set aside.


Prepare teriyaki sauce.
In a pot, put soy sauce, mirin, sake and  brown sugar, and heat. Grate ginger, and squeeze juice into sauce mixture.

Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. The sauce mixture does not need to boil or reduce.


Grill tsukune at 460-470F (240C) for several minutes until surface becomes slightly golden.

Remove from oven, brush teriyaki sauce, grill for 1-2 minutes, remove from oven, flip and brush sauce, and grill for another 1-2 minutes.
Repeat a few times.  


  • Soak bamboo skewers in water ahead of time to prevent them from burning while grilling. (Forgot about this with tsukune in photo above.)
  • Tsukune can be pan-fried instead of grilled.
  • Other common ingredients for tsukune are finely chopped onion, sliced shiso perilla leaves and finely chopped renkon lotus root.
  • When pan-fried, flour, potato starch or bread crumbs are often added to tsukune as an additional binding ingredient.
  • Liquid used to boil tsukune can be added to soup in other dishes.

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