Easy Japanese Recipes

Chicken Meatballs 豆腐ハンバーグ

Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

These Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs are soft and fluffy, and my kids love them! What’s the secret ingredient to make them so fluffy? It’s tofu!

Actually in Japan, we call this dish Tofu Hambagu (豆腐ハンバーグ) – “hambagu” as in Japanese Hamburger Steak. However, most of tofu hambagu are made with tofu AND ground meat (usually chicken, sometimes combination of beef & pork). To avoid misleading the vegetarian readers, I decided to simply call it chicken meatballs (with tofu, as the secret ingredient).

Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Why tofu? It’s because tofu makes the meatball texture very fluffy and soft. These teriyaki meatballs are especially great for all ages including toddlers and elders! If you increase the amount of tofu, it gets even fluffier and less calorie! My proportion for meat and tofu in this recipe is pretty easy to form into meatballs. As you increase the ratio for tofu, it might become slightly difficult to maintain the round shape.

And please note that the meat acts as binding agent here. As you knead the meat, it gets stickier and helps bind tofu and other ingredients very well.

Today I used colorful sweet bell peppers to add some color to these meatballs. You can add your choice of vegetables but don’t put too much in order to maintain the fluffiness.

Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Lastly, look at the delicious glaze on the meatballs! The sauce is everyone’s favorite, Teriyaki Sauce. If you cook Japanese food often, you noticed that we often use the same condiments – soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake (I didn’t use it for this recipe). It’s very common to season Japanese food with these condiments (just slightly different ratios).

I hope this video simplify the recipe. These Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs need just 30 minutes to prepare!

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Chicken Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 20-22 meatballs
  • 9 oz (255 g) ground chicken
  • 5 oz. (142 g) medium firm tofu (about ⅓ of 14-oz. package)
  • 1 ½ sweet bell peppers (3 oz, 87 g) – I used 3 colors
  • 1 green onion/scallion
  • 1 inch ginger (about 1 tsp. grated ginger)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil for cooking
Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp. potato/corn starch
    Chicken Meatballs Ingredients
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
    Chicken Meatballs 1
  2. Wrap the tofu with paper towel and let it drain for 15 minutes.
    Chicken Meatballs 2
  3. Meanwhile, remove sweet bell pepper seeds under running water and dry completely.
    Chicken Meatballs 3
  4. Mince the sweet bell peppers, chop the green onion finely, and grate the ginger.
    Chicken Meatballs 4
  5. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, sweet bell peppers, and green onion. Break the drained tofu into small pieces.
    Chicken Meatballs 5
  6. Add the egg and mix all together.
    Chicken Meatballs 6
  7. Add the grated ginger, salt, and black pepper and combine well.
    Chicken Meatballs 7
  8. Using two tablespoons or a cookie scoop, make a small ball.
    Chicken Meatballs 8
  9. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and drop the meatballs, keeping some distance between each ball. Cook in batches if necessary.
    Chicken Meatballs 9
  10. When the bottom is nicely browned, flip them over and cover with the lid to cook until inside is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low heat if browning too fast.
    Chicken Meatballs 10
  11. When the meat is cooked through, add the first batch back into the pan (if there are any).
    Chicken Meatballs 11
  12. Pour the sauce over and reduce the sauce until it thickens. Flip the meatballs to coat both sides with the sauce.
    Chicken Meatballs 12
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Posted in: 30 Minutes Or Less, Chicken, Easy Dinner Ideas, Healthy Recipes, Most Popular Recipes, Vegetables, Tofu & Eggs

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  • Joyti April 9, 2014, 3:38 pm

    These look great! You’ve inspired me to make some sort of tofu “meat”ball with a vegetarian binding ingredient…delicious!

  • Lail | With A Spin April 9, 2014, 4:00 pm

    This is an excellent idea, Nami. I have never thought of adding tofu on my meatballs. I have some tofu and ground meat in hand. I am going to give this a try. Looks delicious.

  • donna mikasa April 9, 2014, 4:19 pm

    I love the addition of the tofu. It must help to make it moist without the addition of bread–gluten free!

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 9:19 am

      Hi Donna! Yes, tofu makes it moist and fluffy – I love tofu hambagu! :)

  • John@Kitchen Riffs April 9, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Wow, I really like this recipe! The idea of adding tofu to meat balls is brilliant! I’m so going to use this. Such a pretty dish — thanks so much.

  • Monica April 9, 2014, 5:25 pm

    This is so interesting, Nami! My son loves meat and also loves tofu. I am so glad to know it’s a secret ingredient to making fluffy meatballs. I just made chicken teriyaki with brown rice for tonight’s dinner. These meatballs would be a very fun, delicious twist.

  • Minnie@thelady8home April 9, 2014, 5:26 pm

    That’s easy, and looks awesome Nami! Perfect looking pancakes. I am so intrigued by tofu that you have added. A must try.

  • tigerfish April 9, 2014, 5:28 pm

    I like the use of tofu in this dish! I recently added tofu to creamed soups and was pleasantly surprised! Now I can add them when I make meatballs too.

  • Juliana April 9, 2014, 5:50 pm

    Nami, these chicken meatballs look delicious with all the veggies in it, somehow I never got around in using chicken when coming to meatballs…thank you for the inspiration.
    Hope you are having a lovely week :D

  • Doreen April 9, 2014, 5:57 pm

    Hi Nami,
    Just watch this chicken meat balls video clip. Love, love it!
    Love the addition of tofu in the meatballs too. Yum! I am going to cook this for dinner tonight!

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 9:20 am

      Hi Doreen! Thanks so much for watching the video! I hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 9, 2014, 6:05 pm

    These look so good, Nami! I’d love them for dinner tonight!

  • Terra April 9, 2014, 6:26 pm

    Oh sneaky, love that you added tofu! They do look fluffy, and really delicious! What a great recipe, hubby would love this one for sure! Hugs, Terra

  • Sandra | Sandra's Easy Cooking April 9, 2014, 7:23 pm

    My mouth is watering! Whoa! So delicious, for real! Perfect!!! Making it over weekend :)

  • Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living April 9, 2014, 7:23 pm

    I have tried tofu in meat patties and love the moisture it adds. So funny, I just made turkey meatballs tonight in a sweet and sour sauce. I’ll have to give your recipe a try next time!

  • mjskit April 9, 2014, 7:38 pm

    Tofu and chicken – that’s interesting. I didn’t realize that tofu can be used to improve the texture of chicken meatballs, but now that I think about it, it makes sense. Chicken meatballs can be so dry at times so this sounds like a great solution because these meatballs don’t look dry at all. I LOVE that sauce!! Thanks for sharing this Nami!

  • Eha April 9, 2014, 8:11 pm

    Love the combo ~ have never made meatballs quite this way and shall certainly try :) ! Use tofu most days and adding chicken appeals greatly!!!!

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 9:25 am

      Thanks so much Eha! If you have never added tofu to chicken meatballs, you might enjoy the different texture. So fluffy and moist! Hope you enjoy. xo :)

  • Anne April 9, 2014, 8:15 pm

    These look delicious, Nami! I am going to make them very soon. Can I buy the regular ground chicken at grocery to use with this recipe? They also have ground chicken – made with breast meat only – do you think it makes any difference which I use? Thanks so much for sharing and for the lovely video. Anne

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 9:42 am

      Hi Anne! Yes, I buy the ground chicken from a store (this one is from Japanese supermarket). It’s up to you – if you use breast, it’s light and healthy (but usually dry – but tofu should help!) while chicken thigh has more fat so it will be softer and more flavorful. If you can, I’d mix it up to get good balance. :) So happy to hear you enjoyed the video!

  • Mich Piece of Cake April 9, 2014, 8:42 pm

    These look absolutely delicious!

  • Veronica Cervera April 9, 2014, 9:27 pm

    I will try this one too. For sure.

  • wok with ray April 9, 2014, 9:43 pm

    The meatballs are so mouthwatering. It is very simple to make and really appreciate the step by step video. Nicely done. Thanks.

  • Lisa H. April 10, 2014, 12:40 am

    Wow … that look great and yummy too.
    I loved your videos, so professionally done. 2 Thumbs up Nami :D

  • Shirley April 10, 2014, 2:44 am

    Thanks so much for the recipe, may I know must we use Japanese rice vinegar or any will do? Thanks so much.

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 9:23 am

      Hi Shirley! If you don’t have one, you don’t need to get one just for 2 tsp. :) Japanese cooking usually use rice vinegar because it’s mind and not strong vinegar flavor. If you plan to make other Japanese food, it may be a good idea to keep a smaller bottle in the kitchen. :)

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 10, 2014, 3:05 am

    May I stand in line behind the children for any leftovers? I can’t wait to give your wonderful recipe a try, Nami!

  • Medeja April 10, 2014, 3:43 am

    These meatballs really look fluffy and soft and flavorful.. Oh their look makes me hungry :)

  • Kimmi April 10, 2014, 6:10 am

    I like the specks of color from the peppers! I presume it’s also a way to get in some more veggies for a healthy meal. =) Thanks for mentioning the trick with the tofu and paper towel; I bet that’s a lot more efficient than simply letting the tofu sit there to drain.

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 9:48 am

      Thanks so much Kimmi! I “hide” vegetables as much as I can in the food for extra nutrition. My kids eat veggies (maybe they are used to eat veggies from all the years I hide them in food. lol). I sometimes use microwave too (I used this method for some other tofu recipes) to speed up the process. Paper towels is good to absorb excess water right away. :)

  • Mi Vida en un Dulce April 10, 2014, 6:12 am

    Nami, I love this recipe. Chicken is best choice for my kids, we do not eat too much red meat because they prefer chicken, maybe because it’s soft.

  • Kate from Scratch April 10, 2014, 6:37 am

    Looks delicious Nami! I love the lightened up aspect compared to traditional meatballs. Great job!

  • Olena@iFOODreal April 10, 2014, 7:21 am

    These look incredible! And healthy with homemade teriyaki sauce! Pinned!

  • Angie April 10, 2014, 7:43 am

    Will have to try this for my daughter! Do you use chicken breast or chicken thigh?

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 10:05 am

      Hi Angie! For the best result, combine both thigh and breast – thigh has more fat and make it juicy while breast is light and healthier. Hope your daughter will enjoy this! :)

  • Rosa April 10, 2014, 10:55 am

    They look very appetizing! A great recipe.



  • Ayako L. April 10, 2014, 1:41 pm

    I know exactly how this dish tastes and it is mouth watering! Yum, yum! I should run to the store and get some Tofu :)
    This is a great recipe. Thank you!

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 5:01 pm

      Hi Ayako! I hope you enjoy this recipe, and thanks so much for the kind comment! :)

  • Lisa April 10, 2014, 3:10 pm

    This is cool – I just actually made tsukune with a combination of chicken and okara, which is a similar idea. It came out great!

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 5:03 pm

      I love Tsukune too (video shoot 3 weeks ago, so recipe coming soon)! I have to try with Okara next time. I LOVE eating okara… healthy and so delicious!

  • Layne Lieberman RD April 10, 2014, 5:44 pm

    Lovely recipe and video. Tofu is one of my favorite ingredients in my diet lifestyle cookbook: Beyond The Mediterranean Diet

    • Nami April 10, 2014, 8:56 pm

      Your book looks amazing, Layne! Congratulations! :)

  • A_Boleyn April 10, 2014, 6:35 pm

    For some reason, this post never dropped into my mailbox which is a shame cause they look like some pretty tasty meatballs. A friend is planning a New Year’s party (I know … I was surprised too) potluck and I’m going to start putting possible recipes in a folder to bring as my contribution … my felafel recipe for the vegetarians attending is one of this things I’m considering as well.

  • Ola April 10, 2014, 11:58 pm

    Dear Nami,
    I will be thrilled, if you let me add your blog to my bibliography (I’m writing thesis about Japanese cuisine). You are so inspiring!
    P.S. Sorry for writing it here, but I didn’t know where else I should do it.

    • Nami April 11, 2014, 10:36 am

      Hi Ola! Thank you for the message! I’m more than happy and feel flattered if you mention my blog in your thesis. Thank you and good luck!

  • whatjessicabakednext April 11, 2014, 3:16 am

    These look divine- brilliant dinner recipe!

  • Kelli April 11, 2014, 6:21 am

    These look so yummy! I’m totally making these tonight! This is the second week in a row I’m using one of your recipes for friday night dinner. Thanks so much! Great job!

    • Nami April 11, 2014, 10:36 am

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Kelli! I hope you enjoy(ed) this recipe!

  • Bam's Kitchen April 11, 2014, 7:23 am

    Nami-san, my boys will love these chicken tofu meatballs. The glaze is certainly the winner for the kids and adults here. How perfect are these for the bento boxes the next day. I will have to remember to make extra. Have a super weekend. BAM

  • Jeannie April 11, 2014, 8:45 am

    Hi Nami, those chicken meatballs looks really healthy and delicious! I would love to try this when it’s my turn to cook!

  • abdul rafeh April 11, 2014, 9:21 am

    quite easy to make but miss nami as i said we don’t use alcoholic things ( like mirin) so please is there any way to make this without mirin or any other alcoholic thing?

    • Nami April 11, 2014, 12:22 pm

      Hi Abdul! Replace 1 Tbsp. mirin with 1 Tbsp. water + 1/2 tsp. sugar. Hope this helps. :)

  • Sylvia April 11, 2014, 10:02 am

    Another great recipe, Nami! Thank you! Delica in the Ferry Building in San Francisco makes chicken-tofu meatballs and I loved it so much that I’ve tried to replicate it at home. Now I have your recipe, and your video was especially helpful–I learned how to drain the tofu and to use a cookie scoop. The version I’ve adapted for myself uses a Thai sweet chili sauce in place of the teriyaki glaze. I think adding fresh water chestnuts (only FRESH!) to the meat mixture would be good too.

    • Nami April 11, 2014, 10:47 am

      Hi Sylvia! I didn’t know that. Thanks for letting me know! I actually met the owner of Delica at a social event a few months ago and we had a good talk about Japanese meals, especially meals that we cook at home. We were talking that we should introduce more real Japanese food beyond sushi and tempura. Tofu hambagu (chicken-tofu meatballs) are one of them. I’m glad the video was helpful. Japanese households rarely have a cookie scoop (not a common cooking gadget), but I love it – keeping hands clean! I love Thai sweet chili sauce, too. I use it to coat Karaage sometimes… so good! =P Yeah fresh water chestnuts sounds like an excellent idea! Thanks again for your comment. So nice to hear from the local readers. xo :)

  • Coffee and Crumpets April 11, 2014, 11:23 am

    Fabulous meatballs, Nami! Love the secret ingredient too never knew tofu made for fluffy meatballs. These look great.

  • Purabi Naha @ Cosmopolitan Currymania April 11, 2014, 12:00 pm

    I saw this pic on Facebook and was simply salivating! I am sure, the tofu version would also be good, but the chicken version is something I would really prefer over the tofu one. Teriyaki sauce is one of my favourite sauces!

  • Evelyne@cheapethniceatz April 11, 2014, 1:22 pm

    Great looking meatballs Nami, who knew the secret to fluffy ones is tofu. Gives it a touch of extra healthiness too.

  • Jessica April 11, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Love the idea of tofu added to the chicken meatball. I am getting so hungry looking at them!!

  • Lokness @ The Missing Lokness April 11, 2014, 1:55 pm

    Tofu chicken meatballs sound so delicious and healthy. I can’t wait to try these! Thanks, Nami!

  • The Ninja Baker April 11, 2014, 2:06 pm


  • Chantal April 12, 2014, 1:53 am

    Hi Nami,
    Your meatballs ar so gorgeous!
    I like the combination of ground chicken and tofu.
    Thank your for sharing this

  • Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen April 12, 2014, 6:41 am

    The tofu makes this a healthier dish! I love it! The sauce looks wonderful, Nami!

  • Hotly Spiced April 12, 2014, 3:41 pm

    These look so yummy, Nami, and what a great mid-week meal. It’s great they only take half an hour to prepare. Everyone in my family would love these, especially with that beautiful sauce xx

  • Alex April 12, 2014, 7:57 pm

    Nami, every time I think you can’t raise the bar more, you succeed with a wonderful recipe like this! I’ve never thought about tofu in meat balls and now I can’t stop drooling over these photos. Thanks!!!

  • ATasteOfMadness April 12, 2014, 11:56 pm

    I pinned this on pinterest, but had to come over to check out the recipe! This is so happening sometime soon!

  • Elizabeth @Mango_Queen April 13, 2014, 1:04 pm

    What a great idea to add tofu to the ground chicken mixture. I must try your recipe. It looks so good. Thanks for sharing, Nami!

  • Lynna April 13, 2014, 5:55 pm

    Wow, I didn`t know these would include tofu! That makes it healthier. I thought meatballs were hard to make, but I`ve realized it`s pretty simple.

  • TheKitchenLioness April 14, 2014, 1:47 am

    Meatballs are always a huge hit at our house and my kids love them with an Asian twist – I have never added tofu to my meatballs before but I think this is a fabulous idea to make them extra light and fluffy – they ceratauínly look extremly appetizing served with that lovely glaze and the fresh bright green broccoli.

  • Valerie | From Valerie's Kitchen April 14, 2014, 9:19 am

    I saw these meatballs on Instagram and had to come see them here. So appetizing! I’ve been wanting to try doing meatballs with chicken for a long, long time. Adding this one to my ever growing list of your recipes to try.

  • Coco April 14, 2014, 2:47 pm

    looks delicious! I’m making these for dinner tonight :)

    • Nami April 14, 2014, 10:58 pm

      I hope you enjoy(ed) this recipe, Coco! :) Thank you for your comment!

  • Jina @ Soy & Ginger April 14, 2014, 6:11 pm

    These are so cute! They remind me of the beef/tofu ones my mum used to make for us when my sister and I were younger. Can’t wait to try these with chicken, and I love the addition of bell peppers and teriyaki glaze! :)

  • Miles April 14, 2014, 9:58 pm

    Just made these for lunch and wow, oh so delicious. I’ve never used tofu like this – usually just in miso or hiyayakko – so this was really fun. It transformed this dish into something that felt very healthy! thanks :D

    • Nami April 14, 2014, 11:39 pm

      Hi Miles! Thank you so much for trying this recipe! I’m so glad to hear you liked it! Yes, tofu is a great “secret” ingredients to reduce calories and give a wonderful new texture to the meatballs. :) My kids always prefer ones with tofu because of that fuwa fuwa texture. Thank you again!

  • Asmita April 15, 2014, 10:21 am

    Gorgeous! Making this for dinner tonight. I better run and get tofu and the rest of the ingredients for it soon!!

  • Kelly April 17, 2014, 1:58 am

    What a great recipe! I’ve never tried adding tofu in meatballs and that’s such a fantastic idea for keeping them moist! I can’t wait to try it out next time, and that sauce looks incredible! Thanks for sharing Nami :)

  • Des @ Life's Ambrosia April 17, 2014, 2:24 pm

    I never would’ve thought to use tofu in a meatball. I love this idea! And these look fantastic :)

  • Mae April 17, 2014, 6:34 pm

    I only had frozen ground beef and ground turkey in my freezer. I had a block of tofu and tried your recipe with the ground turkey first and then the ground beef a week later.

    That drained tofu (divided into two meals) did wonders with the meatballs . The tofu really added another dimension to my normally dry meatballs.

    Thanks Nami for another recipe that I would try again and again.

    • Nami April 20, 2014, 8:57 pm

      Hi Mae! Thank you so much for trying this recipe! Yes, tofu is such an amazing magical ingredient in meatballs! I almost prefer meatballs with tofu than regular meat only version. Thank you so much for your kind feedback, and I’m glad you enjoyed them. xo :)

  • Tiffany | baking at tiffanys April 17, 2014, 9:39 pm

    Amazing! I never would have guessed that tofu would make a great meatball. They don’t look too difficult to make either. Another recipe I’ll have to try someday!

  • Elizabeth April 18, 2014, 3:09 pm

    Hello Nami,

    I am so glad that I joined your mailing list. Your recipes are lovely, These meatballs look brilliant and I’m planning to try them tomorrow. I wondered if I could trouble you with two questions about them, please?
    1. Does the recipe work well as a ‘make ahead and freeze’ (regarding just the raw meatballs)?
    2. I cannot find mirin locally — but, I was able to track down some Kikkoman kotteri mirin seasoning. Many of the reviews of the product that I’ve found online complain that it is much sweeter than mirin. Have you used Kikkoman kotteri mirin and, if so, how much would you recommend for this recipe?

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth in Canada

    • Nami April 20, 2014, 11:31 pm

      Hi Elizabeth! I’m terribly sorry for my late response. I was away from computer whole weekend as we had house guests. If it’s not too late, please let me respond to your questions.

      Question 1:

      To be honest, I’m not sure. I know that tofu’s texture will become different once it’s frozen. Even though the tofu is broken into pieces and mixed with the meat, I’m afraid tofu will change the original texture (fluffy, especially). Therefore, I won’t recommend (especially I haven’t experimented it before).

      Question 2:

      I wrote about mirin in details in my Mirin page (http://justonecookbook.com/pantry/mirin/), but there are two kinds of mirin. The “real” mirin and “flavored” mirin. Kotteri mirin belongs to the later. It’s nothing wrong with it, but it has more “seasoning” in it to make it taste like real mirin. If you cannot use the real mirin (we call it “hon mirin”), you can use the kikkoman brand. :) I don’t have this brand of mirin so I am not sure how sweet it is, but try omit sugar when you make the sauce, and add sugar into the sauce according to your preference.


      • Elizabeth April 23, 2014, 2:48 pm

        ありがとう ございます, Nami. :) I should have realised that you would have a reference for mirin on your beautifully organised web site. I ended up using the kotteri mirin (cut back the measure a smidge, just in case) and it worked fine. Thank you, too, for the heads up about tofu and freezing — I’m a bit of a novice with the ingredient. Those meatballs were so good, it would have been tempting to freeze a few batches. However, whipping up a fresh recipe when needed certainly won’t be a chore!

        By the way, I took the meatballs over to my parents’ place that evening (they’re in their 80’s and live in a ‘granny flat’ across the drive). They definitely enjoyed their dinner — Mum had a second helping. :)

        • Nami April 26, 2014, 10:11 pm

          Hi Elizabeth! Glad Kotteri Mirin worked fine. :) I’m so glad your parents enjoyed the meatballs too! :) コメント、どうもありがとう!

      • Marilyn Kennedy February 24, 2015, 4:07 pm

        I have been freezing the meatballs and although there is liquid in the frying pan as they cook, it does evaporate and the texture is okay!

        • Nami February 24, 2015, 5:37 pm

          Thanks so much for your feedback, Marilyn! :)

  • Sissi April 20, 2014, 6:46 am

    I don’t know why and how I missed these gorgeous meatballs! You are right to skip the tofu bit in the name… people always think that Japanese tofu balls are 100% tofu! I also add tofu to my meatballs but mainly to make them juicier when I use very lean meat. Actually when I first made it I had no idea it was a regular method in Japanese cuisine, funny isn’t it?
    I love your addition of chopped sweet peppers. This is something I have never added! Very original but I’m sure very tasty too. (As a crazy hot food lover, I will use your tip and put fresh chillies instead ;-) ).

  • Luke May 4, 2014, 4:57 am

    We just made these tonight and doubled all the ingredients for our lunches this week. Straight out of the pan they are incredible! Flavoursome, moist and healthy! This is going to be one of our regular staples for high protein meals. Thanks, Nami :-)

    • Nami May 5, 2014, 11:46 pm

      Hi Luke! Glad to hear the meatballs came out very well! This recipe is one of our staples too, as it’s perfect for bento. And I add different vegetables and ingredients every time. Thank you for your kind comment! :)

  • Eileen May 5, 2014, 11:38 pm

    Oishii!! I made this today and my family loved it! The market didn’t have ground chicken so I used ground turkey instead and it was still delicious!
    The tofu really does make the meatball fluffy and very light. The ginger gives it a nice freshness and the sauce – yum! I doubled the sauce amount as it was so good! Also served salad with your carrot ginger dressing. Love, love! Your photos are beautiful! So glad I found your blog!

    • Nami May 5, 2014, 11:48 pm

      Hi Eileen! Yay! So happy to hear your family enjoyed this recipe! Yes, tofu is an amazing healthy ingredient! :D Thanks for trying the carrot ginger dressing too! I’m glad you enjoy reading my blog, and thanks so much for following! xoxo

  • june June 15, 2014, 9:28 pm

    Hello, i like to try this but my kids are both allergic to egg. is there any substitute for egg?

    • Nami June 16, 2014, 11:57 pm

      Hi June! The egg is used to bind the ingredients together. You can try adding panko or potato/corn starch instead of eggs. Both are also commonly used as binding agent. :)

  • Lynn August 15, 2014, 6:11 pm

    Eating these as I type. Extremely good. I used turkey instead of chicken, since I couldn’t find ground chicken. Tripled the sauce, since I made a huge batch of meatballs and served over brown rice. Thanks again for the recipe. This one is a keeper :)

    • Nami August 16, 2014, 3:49 pm

      Hi Lynn! I’m so happy you liked this recipe! Thank you so much for letting me know. :)

  • Steve Salloom August 18, 2014, 2:49 am


    Today, I made this recipe with the following modifications.

    1. Used lamb meat instead of beef.
    2. Omitted the wine. No wine for our grand children.
    3. Used a Granny Smith apple instead of Fuji.
    4. Did not serve Fukujinzuke.

    It was great. Next time I will used the Mild Hot Curry. Lovely recipe and delicious. Thank you!

  • hazel September 1, 2014, 12:45 am

    Hi, Just wondering would it still work if i only have soft tofu rather than firm?

    • Nami September 1, 2014, 10:29 pm

      Hi Hazel! You can, but soft tofu has more moisture in the tofu, so it might get watery if you don’t drain tofu well. Make sure not to skip draining the tofu. :)

  • Barbara September 15, 2014, 3:04 am

    Hi Nami!

    So excited to make these. I’m planning to put them in a wrap for tomorrow’s lunch!; would it be okay to pre-make the mince mix and sauce the night before and store it in the fridge so it’s ready to go on the pan in the morning, or would you recommend for example to leave adding the egg in until the morning?

    Thanks :)


    • Nami September 15, 2014, 11:06 am

      Hi Barbara! When you use tofu, you have to be a bit careful. Tofu includes a lot of water. If you didn’t dehydrate, the water slowly comes out and make the mixture more wet. So, either you cook till Step 11 or 12, or dehydrate tofu very well and make the mixture ahead, but the following morning, if you see some wet spot in the mixture, you might need to use paper towel and remove. Hope that helps! :)

  • Natalia October 14, 2014, 4:40 pm

    Absolutely delicious , I have made this recipe already a couple time!!!
    Thank you very much!!!

    • Nami October 14, 2014, 10:19 pm

      Hi Natalia! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy this recipe! Thank you for your kind feedback! :)

  • jennifer October 15, 2014, 4:58 am

    Hi Nami, thanks for the recipe and i have been trying out other recipes from your site. I made chicken meatballs for dinner tonight and it is so delicious! The patty is not dry at all although i used chicken fillets instead of chicken thighs.

    • Nami October 16, 2014, 9:39 pm

      Hi Jennifer! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe, and thank you so much for trying my other recipes! Tofu is an amazing ingredient (and you don’t really taste it in case some people don’t like tofu…)!! :)

  • Robin October 16, 2014, 11:50 am

    This recipe is wonderful and has helped me so much recently. I’ve been cooking Japanese food since high school and even lived in Japan for several years. Recently, I had bariatric surgery to reduce my weight, and it’s very important I eat lots of healthy protein. Regular meat, however, was too hard to digest. I thought, “Oh! Let’s try tofu and meat hamburger!” It’s perfect! The texture is soft, like you say, and it still has lots of protein to help my energy level. Thank you for sharing such a simple and useful recipe! 本当に助かりました!ありがとうございます!^_^

    • Nami October 16, 2014, 9:42 pm

      Hi Robin! Glad to hear you enjoyed this dish and worked out well for your diet too. コメントどうもありがとう!嬉しかったです! :)

  • Monica Rampo October 29, 2014, 6:25 pm

    Hi Nami,
    I am Monica from Indonesia, to let you know that I have tried your teriyaki chicken meatballs recipe. Eventhough I didn’t use mirin and rice vinegar since I don’t have them here (I only used apple cider vinegar), the taste very delicious. Thanks for sharing.
    FYI, I have posted the recipe on my blog (written in Bahasa Indonesia) and link back to Just One Cookbook already.
    I think your blog already well known here in Indonesia, so hopefully by trying your recipe, most of my readers will happy if they know I am using your recipe.
    And I think I will try your other recipes next time, already bookmarked some pages of yours.
    Thanks again for sharing great recipes.

    • Nami November 2, 2014, 10:20 pm

      Hi Monica! Thank you so much for trying this recipe, and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! :) Thank you for linking back to my post! xo :)

  • Esther Chua November 21, 2014, 1:41 am

    Hello! Could you please provide an estimate of the time for each side of the meatball to lose the pinkness inside? Is it necessary to put on the lid during the cooking of the meatballs and the reducing of the sauce? Thank you so much!

    P.S Do you have a good salad recipe for yuzu dressing? Thank you!

    • Nami November 21, 2014, 5:35 am

      Hi Esther! If you follow my instruction and make the same meatball size, browning should take between 3-5 minutes (depends on frying pan size and heat), and then flip to cook for another 3 minutes. However, don’t rely on the cooking time too much, and you have to know if your meatballs are cooked through or not after cooking covered for 3 minutes. You can pick one and cut with knife to see how it is (choose one that’s “least cooked” – to make sure).

      When reducing the sauce, no need to put a lid – you want to evaporate the moisture, so the sauce will be thicken (less moisture).

      Do you mean that you already have yuzu dressing? Hmm… maybe finely shredded daikon (like noodles) salad or just simple green salad would be great. Oh and the tofu salad (recipe on the site). :)

      • Esther Chua November 21, 2014, 5:18 pm

        Thank you so much!

  • Esther Chua November 25, 2014, 7:40 am

    Hello again! If I cook the meatballs thoroughly before reducing the sauce, wouldn’t it become overcooked and tough? Perhaps would it be better to undercook the meat slightly before reducing the sauce to prevent tough meatballs? Thank you so much!

    • Nami November 30, 2014, 11:36 pm

      Hi Esther! So sorry for my late response! As tofu is included, you shouldn’t worry too much about the meat getting tougher. Plus, the amount of sauce added is not a lot and it shouldn’t take too long to reduce. Hope this helps!

  • Ella-HomeCookingAdventure November 25, 2014, 9:13 pm

    I love this recipe, it is easy, quick and kids love it. You just gave me an idea for my daughter’s lunch for today. :)

  • Steph January 6, 2015, 7:08 am

    can I make it and keep it in the freezer till tommorrow before cooking ? Thks

    • Nami January 7, 2015, 12:19 am

      Hi Steph! I’m sorry if I failed to answer your question in time… I usually cook everything and then freeze, and never freeze the raw meatballs in the freezer. :)

  • hfriday January 23, 2015, 12:24 am

    This looks like a great recipe! Except for one thing – I don’t like peppers of any color. Can I leave them out? Will it affect texture? Can you suggest other vegetables that would go well with this recipe? I love everything else in the recipe and eager to try it!

    Thank you!

    • Nami February 23, 2015, 6:31 pm

      Hi hfriday! I’m terribly sorry I completely missed your comment and just found yours in my inbox… I’m very sorry for my late response. What’s your favorite vegetables? Chop up into small pieces and add them (like corn, zucchini, anything!). Or you can just put herbs too. Enjoy! :)

  • Jenny January 24, 2015, 11:59 am

    Can you bake these instead? I don’t useoils too much in my cooking.

    • Nami January 26, 2015, 1:13 pm

      Hi Jenny! I haven’t tried baking these but if you try, let us know if it works! :)

  • Felix Vasquez February 7, 2015, 6:07 pm

    Hello Nami, I really like this recipe and with the addition of tofu, these meatballs look very healthy as well. I will give it a try, but I have a question: Can I use ground beef instead of chicken, and can these be baked instead of fried in oil? Thank you

    • Nami February 7, 2015, 7:01 pm

      Hi Felix! I haven’t tried with beef, but I assume it’ll work, but I rarely see the combination of beef and tofu though. I still recommend the ground chicken for that reason. I think you can use oven, however, you have to cover it so that it won’t be too dry. Let me know if that works. I haven’t tried making it in the oven before and I’m sure other readers love to hear your feedback as well. Hope you enjoy! :)

  • Simone February 8, 2015, 11:21 pm

    Hi Nami,

    What gorgeous looking meatballs! One quick question, is it okay to pre-cooked the meatballs and reheat them in the pan adding teriyaki sauce only just before serving?

    • Nami February 9, 2015, 12:48 am

      Hi Simone! Sure, you can do that. :) Hope you enjoy!

  • Kimberly February 16, 2015, 3:36 am

    I don’t have mirin, is it ok to leave that out?

    • Nami February 18, 2015, 12:05 am

      Hi Kimberly! You’ll be missing out liquid and sweetness, so please add 1 Tbsp. water + 1/2 – 1 tsp. sugar. Hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

  • Amy February 20, 2015, 6:54 pm

    I’ve made these twice now, and it’s absolutely delicious. I love how the tofu makes it so light! My friends raved about how fluffy they were and were shocked when I told them that there was tofu in them. They were even shocked that the sauce was homemade…

    Thanks for the amazing recipes, I’m looking forward to trying more!

    • Nami February 21, 2015, 11:33 pm

      Hi Amy! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy this dish! Isn’t tofu amazing? You can’t really tell it’s in there, and it makes the meatball so nice and fluffy. I’m glad your friends enjoyed it too. Thank you for your kind feedback! :)

  • cheryl April 13, 2015, 7:59 am

    hello nami! can i ask what other veggies can i hide in this meatball other than the bell peppers? thanks!

    • Nami April 13, 2015, 8:46 am

      Hi Cheryl! Vegetables can be anything, as long as they’re chopped into small bits. They can be carrot, green beans, corn, green onion, etc… :)

  • Chic Lapin April 13, 2015, 11:59 pm

    I’m going to try and make these with salmon! Since I’m a pescetarian :). I hope I can make them hold their shape!