Posted on Aug 13, 2012 in Hiroko's Blog

In Yakitori restaurants all parts of chicken are used in the kitchen. So you will find these names on the menu: bonjiri/bonbochi (tail), seseri (neck meat), nankotsu (cartridge), kawa (skin), hatsu (heart), sunagimo (gizzard), teba (wing), reba (liver) and sasami (fillet). All these parts are placed on skewers and salt-grilled or grilled and lacquered with rich yakitori basting tare sauce. Everyone’s favorite tsukune, ground chicken meat ball is made of leftover chicken parts. At Hinaiya prepared ground meat is molded by hand along a skewer to form a cylinder of ground meat. It is cooked over bincho-tan charcoal fire and lacquered several times with rich basting tare sauce. The tsukune is then served with onsen tamago (a slow cooked egg). You break a small piece of tsukune from the skewer with chopsticks and eat with creamy, runny egg yolk. It is a heavenly experience.

Here is my tsukune recipe;
Instead of molding the ground chicken along a skewer, I make chicken balls and pre-cook them in the oven for easy handling in home kitchen.

7 ounces chicken thighs
7 ounces chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 scallions, minced
2 shiitake, minced
1 large egg
2 teaspoons shoyu
1 teaspoon canola oil
6 bamboo sticks
Tare basting sauce

1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 1 hour.
2. Chop the chicken into chunks and transfer it to a food processor. Process until roughly minced. Transfer the chicken along with salt to a large bowl. Knead the chicken until it develops stickiness. Add the black pepper, scallion, shiitake, egg, shoyu, and canola oil. Knead again.
3. Heat an oven to 350 degree F. Lightly grease your hand and pan. Make 12 balls, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cook the chicken balls in the heated oven for 10 minutes, or until the outside turns white and firm. Remove the chicken balls from the oven and put them on the bamboo sticks. Cook the chicken balls over the open flame or broiler for about 6 minutes in total. Paint the chicken balls 3 times with tare sauce during cooking.