Japanese Chicken Meatballs (Tsukune)
Chicken meatballs called tsukune are a Japanese-restaurant favorite--they're essentially a chicken sausage mixture flavored with garlic and ginger. Use flat sword-shaped skewers instead of traditional round bamboo skewers to keep the meatballs from slipping when you try to turn them. Serve with bowls of steamed rice on the side.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare meatballs and glaze (Steps 1 & 2), cover and refrigerate for up to up to 1 day.
Equipment: 6 (10- to 12-inch) flat skewers
Note: Mirin is a low-alcohol rice wine essential to Japanese cooking. Look for it in the Asian section of the supermarket or at Asian markets. An equal portion of dry sherry or white wine with a pinch of sugar may be substituted.
To make dry breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. (1 slice = about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs.) For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.”
To toast chopped nuts or seeds, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Oiling a grill rack before you grill foods helps ensure that the food won't stick. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to coat the food with cooking spray.
1 other carbohydrate, 3 lean meat