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Tsukune Recipe

Tsukune are Japanese chicken meat balls with a kind of Teriyaki sauce and are popular at Yakitori restaurants.  Often times, small Tsukune meat balls are skewered on bamboo sticks and grilled on the coal barbecue grill, but they don’t  have to be.  Here they are shaped like small hamburger steaks and cooked in a frying pan. Tsukune is a great appetizer as well as a main dish for everyday dinners.

Ground chicken is the main ingredient for Tsukune.  Because of the soft texture, it is a popular item for children.  Raw ground chicken is much softer than ground beef or pork, and it is a little hard to handle.  Here we used Katakuriko, potato starch, as a binder, but you can also use some bread crumbs.  However, be careful with using too much of the binder, since it could change the texture of the meat to be too pasty. Use some oil on your hand when making the meat balls.  That may ease the stickiness of the meat.   Adding some vegetables to the meat is great too.  While we used finely chopped brown onion, some Renkon (lotus root), or water chestnuts are also great vegetables to add to give the meat balls a nice crunchy texture.

Tsukune Teriyaki is one of the popular dishes for Osechi (New Year meal) too.  There are a lot of traditional vegetables and seafoods (seaweeds) in Osechi, which could be a little boring, so this meat dish may be a refreshing take for the holiday feast.

If making small balls or putting on skewers is too much work for busy week nights, make patties like Hamburger Steaks.  Easy dinner is ready in no time!

Tsukune Recipe


  • 1/2 brown onion
  • 350g ground chicken
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp Katakuriko (potato starch)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp Katakuriko


  1. Chop brown onion finely. Mix ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, put chicken, onion, yolk, ginger, salt and potato starch, and mix very well until very sticky. Divide into 16 pieces and shape like small round or oval hamburger patties.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan at medium heat, fry patties for 3-4 minutes each side until cooked through. Add the sauce, and cook for a minute coating chicken with the sauce.

Tsukune Recipe

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