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Japanese-Style Chicken Meatballs
Japanese chicken meatballs, called tsukune, are a standard offering in izakayas (pub-like gathering places) and restaurants specializing in yakitori. Sometimes shaped into cigars rather than orbs, the meatballs are grilled on skewers and finished with tare (pronounced tah-reh), a savory-sweet soy-based seasoning sauce. Vigorously mixing the meat mixture with either your hands or a silicone spatula helps create structure and a characteristic “bounciness,” so don’t feel the need to be gentle when combining, as if making meatloaf or burger. Instead of skewering and grilling the tsukune, we shape the mixture into small, thick meatballs, skip the skewers, and do all cooking in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop. To add a little spice to the tsukune, offer shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice blend) or yuzu kosho (Japanese chili and citrus paste) at the table.