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Meatball Madness: Tsukune

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Full disclosure: the idea of ground chicken, whether in a sausage, a patty or a meatball is not one I'm completely behind. I've had good chicken sausage once or twice and the Japanese meatballs I've had at izakaya in the past have been very good. But the fact is that I have a strong bias against the idea of ground chicken. So maybe my heart just wasn't in this one.

That said, I have other issues with the way these grilled chicken meatballs turned out. First, this was meat I had planned to grind myself. I already had it on hand and had to improvise with the food processor. As mentioned, I just don't feel a food processor does this particular job well. The meat mixture, below, was far more pasty than I think good ground meat ought to be.

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Besides that, I discovered at the last minute that I had recently finished my Mirin, essential to both the tare sauce suggested for the Tsukune and the teriyaki sauce I hoped to use in its stead. I substituted Chinese rice wine, which just isn't the same thing. I had to add a lot more sugar to compensate for the flavor and consequently ended up charring in the broiler more than it would otherwise have.

The final product was ok, and I used the leftovers in a noodle soup that turned out pretty well, but I'm pretty sure I won't be making this again, more out of my own tastes than anything intrinsically wrong with the dish. I'll leave this one to the grillmasters at the Izakaya.



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