Fried Chicken Balls Simmered in Dark Sauce

Tsukuné Agé Ni

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

This is an unusually seasoned meatball dish that makes a particularly nice appetizer or hors d’oeuvre, a pleasant change from Swedish meatballs at a buffet. The meatballs can be fried in advance and frozen for up to three weeks. Be sure to let them thaw completely at room temperature, though, before simmering in the dark sauce.


  • ¾ pound ground uncooked chicken
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger juice, extracted from peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sendai miso (dark bean paste)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2–3 tablespoons very finely minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil (for hands, for deep frying)


  • ¼ cup mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • ¼ cup dashi (Basic Soup Stock)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon poppy seeds, optional


In a bowl, season the ground chicken with the ginger juice, bean paste, salt and onion. Mix well, then sprinkle the cornstarch over the soft mixture and let it stand for a few moments before mixing again. Lightly oil your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking to them and form 18–20 little meatballs.

In a deep pan, heat your oil to approximately 350 degrees F. and fry the meatballs in several batches. Fry each batch for 3–4 minutes, turning the balls frequently, until they are cooked through and a deep golden brown. Drain the meatballs well.

In a saucepan, combine the syrupy wine, soup stock and soy sauce, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and add the fried chicken balls, simmering them for 5 minutes. Turn the balls frequently as they cook. Remove from the heat and skewer 2 chicken balls on each of 9 or 10 toothpicks and lift them out of the sauce. Serve the meatballs warm or at room temperature and sprinkle a few poppy seeds over them just before serving for an extra taste, texture and color accent.