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Yakitori Recipe (Grilled Chicken Meat Balls)

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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63 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. UnkaLeong

    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 ;)

  2. tigerfish

    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?

  3. aria

    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

  4. bayi

    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.

  5. wmw

    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!

  6. MQ

    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!

  7. Chubbypanda

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

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

  8. UnkaLeong

    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

  9. Chris

    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

  10. Rasa Malaysia

    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. :)

  11. jules

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

  12. Ming_the_Merciless

    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. :-)

  13. Rasa Malaysia

    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!! ;)

  14. Keropok Man

    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…

  15. Kenny Mah

    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! ;)

  16. Mandira

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

  17. Nazca

    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


  18. Vero

    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! :-)

  19. Rasa Malaysia

    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. :)

  20. Speedlight

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

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

  21. Anonymous

    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.


  22. Anonymous

    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.

  23. John

    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.

  24. D.

    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.

  25. sanjay francis

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

  26. Seikara

    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!

  27. ale

    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”

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