Japanese Chicken Meatball Salad

It has definitely been a while since I put fingers to keyboard and wrote about something I made. It’s not like we’ve stopped eating – a look at my waistline will prove that not to be the case. It’s more that we really haven’t been cooking significantly different foods from the 2, 576 posts and 1,259 other recipes already on the site. I mean, how many times can I cook and wax poetically about the same ol’ things?!?

And then, the other day, my latest copy of Milk Street arrived. It’s a fun magazine. I really do like Chris Kimball. He has an Alton Brown approach to cooking – the science and chemistry behind food – along with stories about where the food came from. Granted, sometimes the ingredient lists can get a bit kludge, but all-in-all, they’re pretty good.

The latest issue had a recipe for a Japanese-Style Chicken Meatball that really sounded interesting. And, as luck would have it, I had the ingredients!

To make it even better, we just started watching a show on Prime called “James May – Our Man in Japan“. It’s a pretty fun travel show with May – an Englishman – travelling from north to south in Japan, doing things your basic traveler would never think – or be able – to do. It’s fun and interesting.

So… Milk Street recipe, Japan travel show… Time to make some meatballs!

Naturally, I couldn’t just serve them over rice. It’s summer time. That means salads. About as un-traditional as one can get – but it really worked!

I also found a recipe for a “Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad Dressing“, so off we went…

Japanese-Style Chicken Meatballs

adapted from Milk Street Magazine

  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, 1 smashed and peeled, 1 finely grated
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, 2 teaspoons finely grated, the remainder thinly sliced and bruised
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 4 scallions, minced, divided
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Ground black or white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for oiling your hands

Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray; set aside. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, combine the sake, mirin, soy sauce, smashed garlic and bruised ginger. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until reduced to ⅓ cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic and ginger; transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Rinse out and dry the skillet.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, the grated garlic, the grated ginger, ¼ cup scallions, the panko, egg white, sesame oil and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Using your hands or a silicone spatula, vigorously stir and knead the mixture until well combined and sticky. Using lightly oiled hands, divide the mixture into 16 portions (about 2 tablespoons each), form each into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly press each ball to slightly flatten it into a 1- to 1¼-inch round.

In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the neutral oil until shimmering. Place the meatballs in the skillet, reduce to medium and cook until lightly browned on the bottoms, about 4 minutes. Flip each meatball and add the sake-soy mixture; continue to cook, occasionally turning the meatballs and basting them with the sauce, until the centers reach 160°F and the exteriors are glazed, 5 to 7 minutes; reduce the heat to medium if the soy mixture is reducing too quickly.

Japanese Chicken Meatball Salad


And then the salad dressing… I really like making my own dressings. This one is going into the rotation.

Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad Dressing

adapted from All-Recipes

  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ½ cup peanut oil
  • ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons minced celery
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine minced onion, peanut oil, rice vinegar, water, ginger, celery, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender. Blend until all ingredients are well-pureed, about 30 seconds.

We went out and bought a Ninja blender, and the smoothie cup it came with is the perfect size for making a batch of dressing – and it really makes for a smooth finished product.

Hopefully, this will get me out of my rut and start cooking a few more new, fun things…

It could happen…..