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I Love Meatballs!
by Rick Rodgers
Teriyaki is a combination of two Japanese words, teri for “luster” and yaki for "grilled" or "broiled." These light-as-a-feather chicken meatballs are poached, with a sweet and shiny sauce for the teriyaki angle. I've given a variation for a grilled version, but I love how these can be poached and ready for serving in a few minutes, and their juicy, delicate texture is a revelation. Mirin, sweetened Japanese rice wine, is available at Asian grocers and many supermarkets.
makes 4 servings


    Chicken Meatballs
    • 1 pound ground chicken
    • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
    • 1 large egg, beaten
    • 1 scallion, minced, plus more for garnish
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon peeled and shredded fresh ginger (use the large holes of a box grater)
    • 1 tablespoon Japanese-style soy sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 8 quarter-sized peeled fresh ginger, crushed under the flat side of a large knife for the cooking liquid

    Teriyaki Sauce
    • 2/3 cup Japanese-style soy sauce
    • 2/3 cup mirin
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    • Hot cooked rice, for serving


1. To make the meatballs, combine the chicken, panko, egg, scallion, cornstarch, shredded ginger, soy sauce, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.

2. Bring 2 quarts water and the sliced ginger to a boil in a pot over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low to keep at a simmer.

3. Using your wet hands rinsed under cold water, shape the chicken mixture into 20 equal meatballs. Transfer to a baking sheet. Carefully add the balls to the pot. Simmer until cooked through, about 6 minutes

4. While the balls are cooking, make the teriyaki sauce. Bring the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and rice vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil until thickened and reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour into a small bowl.

5. Using a wire spider or sieve, remove the meatballs from the cooking liquid. Drain briefly on paper towels. Spoon the rice into serving bowls. Top with the meatballs and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with minced scallion and serve hot.

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs:
Because the chicken mixture is soft, these meatballs are best grilled in a metal meatball-grilling basket. Prepare a medium-hot fire in an outdoor grill. Oil 20 molds in 2 baskets and place the meatballs in the baskets. Grill, covered, turning after 3 minutes, until the meatballs are browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes.



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