Tsukune – Yakitori Style Ground Chicken Skewers

tsukune chicken meatballs with asparagus

Tasty Japanese chicken meatballs on skewers are the best! Seasoned with ginger, garlic, sake and soy sauce and baked in the oven with sliced asparagus.


  • 8 stalks asparagus (ends trimmed and cut into thirds)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 thumb size ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the sweet soy tare sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Cover cooking tray with aluminum foil and lightly brush with oil.
  3. In a medium pan over medium/high heat, add oil, ginger, garlic and onions. Cook until onions are soft and transfer to a bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. When the onion mixture has cooled, add ground chicken, flour, sake, soy and salt to the bowl. Mix with your hands until well blended.
  5. Spoon some ground chicken mixture and make a small ball in the palm of your hand. Thread it onto a skewer and add a couple of pieces of asparagus. Repeat until the skewer is full and lay it on the tray. You may need to reshape some of the chicken balls as they may fall off the skewer. Do it on the tray when they are lying down, it’s easier that way. Repeat this step until all the mixture has been used.
  6. Divide your tare sauce into two separate bowls. Use one bowl to brush the skewers on both sides.
  7. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes. Take them out and brush one more time with tare sauce, turning them over. bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  8. Serve with unused tare sauce, for dipping.

For the sweet soy tare sauce:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a microwavable bowl and zap for 20 seconds, to melt the sugar. Stir and let cool to room temperature.


Yields about 8 skewers
An easy way to know where to trim off the woody ends of asparagus: Hold one stalk at a time with both hands (closer to the stem) and let it natural snap off.

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