Recipe: Tsukune

Just like the recipe I put up before for misoshiru, I’m playing safe with another Japanese dish in that there are lots of different versions, so no-one can say I’m definitively wrong so this is a recipe for tsukune.

Tsukune is essentially a chicken ‘meatball’, often cooked over a flame or hot coals in restaurants – especially in yakitoriya. I quite like tsukune so I thought I’d cook my own a bit more over the summer since they’re great over BBQ, and they’re really simple.


400g of fresh chicken breast (no skin!)

~5g of fresh garlic (1 clove)

75g of diced fresh onion

1 tablespoon of olive oil

a little Tabasco sauce

a little soy sauce (usukuchi)

salt and black pepper

some tare sauce

some small wooden skewer/kebab sticks

a blender

The Making Bit

First, chop up all the chicken into chunks into a bowl, then add the olive oil, Tabasco, soy sauce , salt and pepper and stir it up to get it all well mixed in and whilst it’s sitting, dice up the onion and garlic quite finely, and add that to the chicken, stirring it in well.You can let it sit a bit now, and put your skewers into water, which should reduce the amount they burn later on.

Next, get your blender / food processor ready. In all honesty, you can just keep chopping the chicken and other ingredients up to get the consistency you want, but the blender is going to save you time – however, we’re aiming for a meatball type consistency, not a paste! Put everything in and work it through – chicken is quite fibrous, so you need to make sure you’ve got all the large chunks cut down. The onion should still be visible.

Once you’re happy it all looks right and consistent, ball it up, with a size of about an inch (~2.5cm) across. The mixture can be sticky, so don’t be afraid to use some flour to keep them from sticking to the plate and everything else, and keep your fingers wet when picking the mixture up.

Then simply place a few on each skewer and we’re ready to cook. When we aren’t having a BBQ, I tend to use our ridged Le Creuset skillet, but you can also grill them. Once they’re cooked through you can server them with a tare sauce.

As an option, you can put some fresh parsley or other herbs into the mixture, and cook with a little olive oil. you can also serve with some sliced lemon between each ball.

If anyone has any suggestions – please put them in the comments.