The idea of going to a yakitori restaurant in Japan and ordering a cold beer with a variety of yakitori-ya appeals to me. Have a skewer with some of these grilled chicken meatballs, a couple of grilled wings, a few nibbles of dark chicken meat and negi, a little taste of the livers, and some crispy skin; it looks like a fun way to enjoy Japanese food. Eating yakitori at home, especially when there are only two of us, means dispensing with the variety. Never mind, these chicken dumplings were both easy to make and delicious!
Grilled Golden Chicken Dumplings
Yakitori: Tori no Tsukune
serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course
- 7 ounces skinned and boned chicken thighs
- 7 ounces skinned and boned chicken breasts
- (I took the easy route of buying a pound of ground chicken)
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 naganegi (Japanese long onion) or 3 scallions, green and white parts, minced
- 1 teaspoon peeled, finely grated ginger
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 to 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- Sansho pepper
- Yakitori Sauce
- 8 bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour
Chop chicken to a paste with a heavy-duty knife or a food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the salt. Squeeze the mixture with your hands until the mixture becomes sticky and pale pink in color. One at a time add the black pepper, onions, ginger, and egg white. Squeeze the mixture after each addition. Add the sesame oil and mix. I put this mixture into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill.
Oil your hands and form the ground chicken into 1 1/2 inch balls. I made 24, so they may have been a little smaller than the original recipe. As you form the dumplings, place them on a large oiled plate and press a small depression in each to facilitate even cooking. When you have shaped all of them, heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the skillet with a film of oil and fry the dumplings in batches over medium low heat. Don’t cook them all the way through: you only want to cook them until they turn white and firm on all sides. Drain the dumplings on paper towels. Let them rest for 10 minutes.
Or you can prepare the recipe to this point and finish cooking later in the day. Let the dumplings come up to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Thread three dumplings on each skewer. Grill or broil until golden, turning once. Dip the skewers in the yakitori sauce. Shake off excess sauce and grill until dry, about a minute or two. Repeat the dipping and drying process, and then remove the dumplings from the heat and baste them once more.
Serve hot, sprinkled with sansho pepper.
More Yakitori Recipes from Tess
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