Yakitori Recipe (Grilled Chicken Meat Balls)

Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Meat Balls) recipe - These are juicy, yummy, and definitely my favorite and a must-have item at yakitori restaurants. | rasamalaysia.com


Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Meat Balls) recipe - These are juicy, yummy, and definitely my favorite and a must-have item at yakitori restaurants. | rasamalaysia.com

Yakitori Recipe (Grilled Chicken Meat Balls)

Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Meat Balls) recipe – These are juicy, yummy, and definitely my favorite and a must-have item at yakitori restaurants.


11 oz skinless chicken (minced)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
6 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
2 inches fresh ginger root (grated)
Bamboo skewers

For the “tare” yakitori sauce:

4 tablespoons sake
5 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon corn starch blended with 1 teaspoon water

  1. 1. Put all the ingredients for the chicken balls (except the ginger) in a food processor and blend well.
  2. 2. Wet your hands and scoop about a tablespoonful of the mixture into your palm. Shape it into a small ball about half the size of a golf ball.
  3. 3. Squeeze the juice from the grated ginger into a small mixing bowl. Discard the pulp.
  4. 4. Add the ginger juice to a small pan of boiling water. Add the chicken balls and boil for about 7 minutes, or until the color of the meat changes and the balls float to the surface. Scoop out and drain on a plate covered with paper towels.
  5. 5. In a small pan, mix all the ingredients for the yakitori sauce, except for the corn starch solution. Bring the mixture to boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce slightly reduced. Add the corn starch solution and stir until the sauce is thickened. Transfer to a small bowl.
  6. 6. Thread 3-4 balls on to each bamboo skewer. Grill the skewers with an indoor grill or broiler or on a barbeque (preferred). Brush them with the yakitori sauce and turn the skewers frequently until the balls turn brown.
  7. 7. Serve hot and sprinkle with shichimi togarashi (Japanese chile powder with sesame seeds) and some yakitori sauce if you like.

Grilled Chicken Meat Balls / Yakitori Meat Balls

My current food crush on Japanese food continues with yakitori, or Japanese grilled chicken skewers. If you have tried yakitori before, chances are you have tasted these legendary grilled chicken meat balls.

Grilled Chicken Meat Balls / Yakitori Meat Balls

Known as Tsukune in Japanese, I am nuts for yakitori. They are juicy, yummy, and definitely my favorite and a must-have item at yakitori restaurants or izakaya (Japanese pub-like restaurants serving sake, yakitori and small dishes).

I got this Yakitori recipe from “Japanese Cooking” by Emi Kazuko and these homemade grilled chicken meat balls weren’t half bad. All in all though, I enjoyed the cooking process and was pleased with the results, especially the pictures of my yakitori…

You can try to make yakitori/grilled chicken meat balls at home. If you have any questions about the yakitori recipe, please drop me a comment.


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  1. wow…looks really professional and delicious..can’t wait to try this recipe..Itadakimasu!

  2. Haha… can eat this as an appetizer before eating Tiga’s Udon.

  3. UnkaLeong says:

    I think I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanesem I really think so…

    Hahaha. Can see the reflection of the light of one of the dollops of the sauce ;)

  4. tigerfish says:

    I like that first picture. Though they are just harmless yakitori, they looked as if they are in for a fight, fighting to be eaten :D

    How many more Jap dishes you have in line?

  5. Yumyum, I am nuts for those too… I think I’ll serve them on mini-skewers as appetizers very soon…

  6. These look delicious. I would very much substitute my substandard salad lunch with these, right now!

  7. oh snap! i love yakitori too. i haven’t thought of it in quite a while & these look delicious! i could pop one right after the other. arrrrrrrrrg

  8. I just had Japanese lunch today but nothing as delicious-looking as your yakitori chicken. Apart from using fresh chicken and grilling it well, the quality of the sauce is very important.

  9. Gracianne says:

    I love these and your pictures look so good – a great recipe with barbecue season starting soon.

  10. These look great. I wish I had a food processor though, or at least the patience to chop by hand.

  11. Looks so yummy! But too bad can’t do food tasting at your house! Hee hee..Hey, unkaleong, one of my fave songs, love songs of the 80s!

  12. BuddingCook says:

    wow kind you grind up whole chicken breast in the food processor?

  13. Have you tried making takoyaki and okonomiyaki? I have yet to find those 2 meals in Malaysia market which could at least taste on par with the one I tasted in Japan.

    Maybe it’s the freshness of the ingredient that make it good locally.

    Your pics just look much better everyday!

  14. elmomonster says:

    My god woman! Is there anything you can’t make?!?!?! ;-)

  15. Chubbypanda says:

    I have that book and love that series. Hermes House rocks!

    I managed to collect most of the series before Borders discontinued it.

  16. UnkaLeong says:

    WMW : Hahaha…I consider myself an 80’s love-child, eventhough I was born in the late 70’s.

    Bee : Sorry for using your comments box yar :P

  17. thanks for the lovely recipe, i think my boiboi will find this a novelty

  18. I am nuts for these balls

    LOL… I tried the recipte, my balls turned out to be too hard to chew, so I let my dog enjoyed it. I should try few more times, it’s not easy to do this though

  19. Those pictures are absolutely mouthwatering! Well done!

  20. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Minami – thanks for your sweet comment. :)

    Simcooks – yes, when are you coming over to eat?

    Unkaleong – The song was ringing in my mind the whole time when I made this.

    Tiga – no more Japanese food for now. I am missing Malaysian food already.

    Vero – awesome. I can’t wait for your post about this.

    Mallika – right on, yes, salad is a tad boring. :P

    Aria – I know, I can’t have enough of these, one skewers after another. They are too good!

    Bayi – correct, it’s all about the quality of sauce since there is no real marinate in the chicken meat.

    Gracianne – Yes, summer and yakitori, what a great idea. Now I just need that jar of mojito. :)

    Marvin – chopping by hand is better actually, the texture is so much better than blender. By all means, use your hands! Hehe. ;)

    WMW – next time we go to karaoke with Unkaleong and you two can sing this song. OK?

    Budding Cook – why not? Hehe.

    MQ – no, I haven’t tried making those as I do not have the moulds.

    Elmo – yes, there are many things I do not know how to make, for example, Indonesian food and red meat. U give me red meat and I will be totally useless. LOL!

    CP – I picked it up at Borders too…only $4.99, what a great find.

    Unkaleong – OK, you will have to sing Turning Japanese plus perform a dance since you use my comment box. :P

    Babe_KL – yeah, kids dig this kind of stuff. The yakotori sauce is good but be careful, they will get intoxicated as there are sake and mirin. Hehe.

    Chris – I am sorry to hear that. Did you use the measurement cups? Even with recipe, sometimes you will have to guestimate or agak agak. Did your dog eat them? :P

    Brilynn – welcome and thanks for your sweet comment. :)

  21. pablopabla says:

    Yummy! I think I wanna have Japanese food for lunch today :)

  22. Rasa Malaysia,
    You never fail to impress me with you cooking skill.:)

  23. Lyrical Lemongrass says:

    gorgeous pics. How not to feel hungry after looking at your blog ar?!?!

  24. great pics..especially the first one. love the light and the reflection on the sauce…did you get yourelf a new camera?

  25. team BSG says:

    can V adjust yr title to Fine Dining Princess( too ) ?

  26. Tummythoz says:

    2 skewers? Where got enuf! Drools.

  27. yooo…u make me crazy at 10.33pm. Where to find these food???

  28. Ming_the_Merciless says:

    I love yakitori too. But they are sooo expensive in NYC. It’s like $2/stick for veggies (love the grilled green onions) and $3/stick for meat (love the chicken meat balls too). I tend to eat like 5 – 8 sticks of stuff so you can imagine how the $$$ adds up.

    I went to a yakitori place in the East Village for dinner a couple months ago with 2 friends. We ordered the takitori special (2 shrimp sticks, 2 sticks chicken meatballs, 2 beef, 2 pork, 2 green onions) and it was $30. We had to order a lot more food after that. But I’m a big eater. :-)

  29. Ming_the_Merciless says:

    The horseshoe crab is for decoration, I think. I don’t think it is edible.

  30. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Pablo – What did you have?

    Kok – thanks. :)

    Lemongrass – easy, just come to my blog as soon as you have your lunch / dinner. ;)

    Jules – yes, indeed I got myself a new camera.

    TeamBSG – sure, of course. Hehe.

    Tummythoz – of course more than 2 skewers lah, I finished everything and left only two for the pictures.

    Jackson – er, satay can or not?

    Ming – I know, Yakitori is not cheap, especially the chicken meat balls. I think it’s about $2-$3 here per skewer too, so they really add up. But they are too good to resist. I also love scallops. So good! Horsecrab for decoration…how so? It looks scary!! ;)

  31. Keropok Man says:

    One of my fav too, whenever we walk past the kiosk that sells this, will always buy it!

    It’s around 80 cents to $2 per stick, depending on what is ordered. 80 cents is the plain meat balls, which are already so so yummy like the ones in your delicious picture!

    They also sell something quite errr. a skewer full of chicken skin! I think lots of people love it! haha…

  32. Kenny Mah says:

    Waa… the photos like can eat right from the monitor screen one… Dee lee cious! :)

    Agree with unkaleong, got reflection — makes it look all the more delish! ;)

  33. pablopabla says:

    I ended up with MacDonalds. LOL!

  34. Orchidea says:

    I like Yakitori and this looks so delicious!

  35. Absolutely gorgeous photo and looks delicious. And also the miso marinated fish. I’m constantly looking for new recipes, so this is great. Thanks.

  36. PrincessJournals says:

    RM,indeed they look good and im sure taste as good. But like u, im also missing msian food.

  37. Perfect, simple but tasty. Something I love. Now I just have to find out what monkey bread is. I’m hoping it’s not intuitive :-S


  38. pinksandwich says:

    You should try Yakitori-ya on Sawtelle. They server a course for a very reasonable price.

  39. I’ve tried your meatballs last week… It was absolutely gorgeous..
    I’ll post them tomorrow and make a link to your recipe.
    Thank you so much, your recipe has been adopted by the whole family! :-)

  40. Rasa Malaysia says:

    KP, yes, I know about chicken skin…actually they are not too bad…another weird one is chicken cartilage or soft bones. :P

    Kenny – thanks for your nice comment. I like the first picture too. :)

    Pablo – aiyo, from Japanese food to McD? ;)

    Orchidea – yeah, yakitori is so nice.

    Mandira – thanks for stopping by. :)

    Princess – have you tried yakitori? If not, next time I can make.

    Nazca – hehe, I am going to make monkey bread soon, stay tuned…no, it’s not literal at all!

    Pinksandwich – I have heard about Yakitori-ya but I do not live in LA, so it’s far to drive up there, but thanks and will try hopefully soon. :)

    Vero- thanks for your sweet note and that you and your family loved it. I will have to check it out on your site. :)

  41. Speedlight says:

    Love the look of the chicken teriyaki balls that I have to try it myself!!

    Just realised I don’t have sake… aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!

  42. Your recipe is wonderful, i really loved it!

  43. Thanks a lot :-) Third time I make them and my French husband loves it….. We have a blast everytime! continuing trying out your recipes. Great work.


  44. Omg i am so happy to find the recipe I have been looking so much for the tsukune recipe. thank you:)

  45. Anonymous says:

    I have had these in many countries but prefer them the most in Christchurch, New Zealand.
    They sprinkle Tuna flakes on top of balls after they are covered with sauce just before serving.

  46. Those yakitori looks so good. theyr expensive too. Now i can make them myself thanks to your yakitori recipe.

  47. These are great and even better when you are having a glass of wine by candle light with a super model! Ok , my dream meat balls came true.

  48. Cooked these tonight – followed recipe to a T. Turned out like meaty pancake tasting things. Is that right? Any feedback would be welcome.

    • D. – It’s been more than two years since this post so I can’t remember exactly the cooking process. The recipe is from a famous Japanese cookbook “Japanese Cooking” by Emi Kazuko–the exact copy.

      I do remember the texture was “harder” and too “floury” than what I desired and I think I added more chicken to balance it out. Also, you have to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for the recipe; you might also want to cut the bread crumbs down, and use only Japanese panko which is lighter in texture.

      I am sorry the recipe didn’t work out for you, I will have to redo this again and update the recipe.

  49. sanjay francis says:

    I like Yakitori and this looks so delicious i learn from your website
    thank you
    chef sanjay

  50. Seikara says:

    I was wondering what might be used as a gluten free substitute for the flour and bread crumbs (or if they could just be left out). Also if the sake could be left out of the yakitori sauce or a non-alcoholic substitute could be used.

    Thank you!

  51. I mad ethese balls and my family loved it so much. My hubby even asked me if i would make this for his birthday bash.
    Thankyou fo such a wonderful delcious recipe.
    I have posted them in my place

  52. that’s as good yakitori..thanks..

  53. thanks admin.delicious..iam going to prepare it soon..

  54. wow I’ve made yakitori but never as meatballs they look really tasty, I should try them out sometime! thanks for the recipes, I’m in love with your page from now on, I just discovered it and I really like it”

  55. That looks amazing! Thanks for the recipe and pictures! Will try to make that..

  56. hi,
    if i do not have a food processor, could i mixed it manually?


  57. I don’t’ have a good recipe for meatballs so thanks for this very user friendly post, my kids love them so will have to give it a go.

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