• Yield: Makes about 24 balls

  • Time: 20 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking, 40 minutes total


  • 1/2 cup (65 g) cornstarch

  • 1 lb (500 g) ground chicken (or turkey)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg white, beaten until foamy

  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 2 green onions (scallions) or 1/4 cup (15 g) chives, finely chopped

  • 3 cups (750 ml) water

  • 2 teaspoons dashi powder (optional)

  • Two 1/4 in (6 mm) slices fresh ginger

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Teriyaki Sauce

  • Japanese red pepper powder (togarashi) (optional)




1. Have on hand two large plates. Spread the cornstarch on one of the plates and set the other one aside.


2. Combine the ground chicken (or turkey) salt, egg white, ginger, sesame oil, pepper, and green onions in a medium size mixing bowl. The mixture will be very soft and a little difficult to handle.


3. Form the balls using two spoons. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture with one of the spoons and with the other spoon push the mixture off the end of the spoon and onto the plate of cornstarch. Using one of the spoons, roll the mixture in the cornstarch until it forms a ball. Carefully place the ball onto the clean plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken mixture.


4. Pour the water in a medium saucepan, and add the dashi powder (if using) and ginger slices. On medium heat, bring the water to a boil. Drop the chicken balls into the liquid. Stir them once or twice so they do not stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Once they are floating, turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked (the chicken mixture will be white when you slice into the ball).


5. Remove the chicken balls from the broth with a slotted spoon, and set on a clean plate. Set a wire mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the cooking liquid through the strainer. Reserve the liquid.


6. Add the Teriyaki Sauce to the skillet. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat. Add the chicken balls and reduce the heat to low medium. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is white on the inside and the chicken balls are nicely glazed.


7. Place 2-3 chicken balls on a small skewer or toothpick, then sprinkle on the Japanese red pepper powder, if using, and serve.

Tsukune Dango reprinted from My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family by Debra Samuels, Heath Robbins and Catrine Kelty.

Debra Samuels is an author—most recently of The Korean Table, a cooking teacher, and a food writer and stylist for The Boston Globe. She developed the "Kids Are Cooking" series on food, culture and nutrition for Boston's Children's Museum.