Oil-Free Japanese Chicken Meatballs – Tsukune日式雞肉丸 (GF, Refined Sugar Free, Oil Free)


My memory as a child of good food always included our family vacations to Japan. Apart from being able to go to Disneyland, the second best thing about going to Japan was their food. As a kid my favorite meal consisted of Japanese curry, Japanese soba noodles, Japanese mocha, Japanese soft-served ice cream, Japanese chicken and egg rice…do you see the trend here?

I loved Japanese food. Especially when they are plated so carefully and neatly in those cute black, bento boxes.

Every Japanese restaurant always had a display glass with individual bento boxes or set lunches – each compartment would be filled with either salad, fish, rice, gyoza, sushi – just simply everything! My sister and I would spend so much time just staring and feasting on the gorgeous display glasses, simply in awe of how fine and exquisite they looked. We could never get enough of it.  Somehow it always looked so beautiful, so picturesque, and so real. We loved our Japanese bento boxes. Presentation always makes food more appealing. As wonderful childhood memories flooded in my mind, I felt nostalgic for a warm, home-cooked japanese meal. So here it is – authentic, healthy, Japanese meatballs on a plate!

I heard someone once say that a good cook is someone who knows how to present their food. I am definitely not one of those people. I’m learning though! Its always been such a difficult task for me to get creative especially being a college student. So bear with me!


Just one COOKBOOK – A fabulous Japanese blogger and cookbook author reveals the real trick of making this work! Kneading the meatball batter 30 times clockwise and 30 times anti clockwise. I was so afraid I would lose count I had to count aloud! My roommates were probably not impressed by that, but I was so excited and determined to make it work. And it sure did!

Don’t forget to dip it in that Yakitori Tare sauce that we adapted to make it alcohol free as well. It tastes so much better when you dip the meatballs with sauce to serve over rice (or even serve it as lettuce wraps)


Adapted from justonecookbook

Makes 14-16 meatballs


  • 1 lb. Ground Chicken/turkey
  • 1 tbsp organic white miso
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 10 shiso leaves (perilla), optional but recommended
  • salt

Yakitori Tare sauce:

  • 1/4 cup GF soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin/apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey/maple syrup
  • Spring onion

How to Make:

  1. To Make the sauce: Place all the ingredient for the Yakitori sauce into a small pan. Bring to boil. Turn down to low and reduce for 30 minutes until thick and glossy.
  2. Heat nonstick pan to medium. Add in 1/3 of the chicken and cook until no longer pink. (This step is important in keeping the meat moist, retaining its juices and preventing your meat from shrinking after cooking).
  3. In a bowl, mix together cooked and raw chicken. Add in the miso and chopped scallions.
  4. Gently knead the chicken mixture with your hand: 30 times clockwise and 30 times anti clockwise.This is important for texture and also if you want the meatballs to hold together!
  5. Measure out 2 tbsp portions. Wet your hands and gently roll in ball and then shaped into an oval.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  7. Broil meatballs for 6 minutes on one side. Flip and broil for another 4 minutes.
  8. Brush the Yakitori sauce on the meatballs and broil for 30 secs. Repeat on the other side.
  9. Serve the meatballs, with the leftover sauce and steamed rice!



Zoe & Mia

3 Comments Add yours

  1. So happy to know that you liked this recipe! It looks delicious! And thank you for linking back to my original post and for your kind mention of my blog. 🙂


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