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Appetizer RecipesChicken Appetizers pg 2 >  Tsukune (Grilled Chicken Meatballs)



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From: The Ethical Gourmet by Jay Weinstein

One way to enjoy meat, and at the same time reduce the amount you consume, is to serve it as an appetizer prior to a meatless main course. These Japanese hors d'oeuvres convey intense meat flavor. A good main course to follow would be a stir-fry of mixed Asian greens (such as Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, watercress, and collards), sliced carrots, and mushrooms, served over Sesame Rice. Extra Soy-Marsala Dipping Sauce is an excellent flavor accent for such a dish.
   The Accent seasoning is optional, but this MSG ingredient is widely used in authentic Japanese cuisine
Serves 8 as an Appetizer



• 2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1½ pounds boneless free-range chicken thighs, cut into medium dice
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Pinch of Accent seasoning (optional)
• Oil for frying
• Soy-Marsala Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)


In a food processor, pulse the ginger until finely chopped. Add the chicken, sugar, white pepper, cornstarch, salt, and Accent (if using). Pulse until the mixture is a rough puree.

Heat oil to a depth of 3 inches to 350°F. Form the chicken mixture into bite-size balls by squeezing through your loosely clenched fist. Drop the meatballs into the oil in batches often, and deep-fry until cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate to drain.

Heat a grill or stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Skewer the cooked meatballs on bamboo sticks, two to a skewer. Grill the meatballs until they attain a slight char and have a grilled taste, about 1 minute per side. Serve with Soy-Marsala Dipping Sauce.

Yield: 1/2 Cup

    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine) or sweet wine
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Bring the soy sauce, Marsala, sugar, rice vinegar, and mirin to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer 3 minutes.

Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water to form a slurry. Thicken the sauce by stirring in the cornstarch slurry, bit by bit, until the sauce has a smooth consistency and coats the back of a spoon.

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