Tsukune is one of the most well known izakaya foods and is also known as one type of the great street foods, Yakitori. You can make tasty Tsukune with a rich sauce easily at home!
I have a question! Do you love Yakitori? If so, which yakitori do you like? Nowadays, I do love all of the yakitori but I have always loved Tsukune, which I am going to introduce in this article, since I was very little. Tsukune is loved by people of all ages but especially young kids.
What is Yakitori?
Yakitori is extremely famous in Japan. Simply translated, yakitori means grilled chicken. But, yakitori actually refers to a variety of different types of grilled chicken skewers. There are yakitori specialty shops (izakaya style but mainly yakitori) in Japan, and many office workers (we call them サラリーマン) love to go eat yakitori after work with their colleagues or bosses. I get the impression that yakitori isn’t very common in the states even in Japanese restaurants. Even in larger cities, it’s 50/50 whether I will see Yakitori items on the menu.
But the good news is making Yakitori is really easy and actually a lot of fun! I think this is a great menu item for home parties and can be a delicious appetizer or entree.
Here are some kinds of Yakitori!
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- Kawa (皮) : chicken skin
- Hatsu (ハツ) : chicken heart
- Reba (レバー) : chicken liver
- Momo (もも) : chicken thigh
- Mune (むね) : chicken breast
- Bonjiri(ぼんじり) : chicken tail
- Sasami(ささみ) : chicken tender
- Tebasaki(手羽先) : chicken wings
- Sunagimo(砂肝) : chicken gizzard
- Nankotsu(軟骨) : chicken cartilage
- Tsukune (つくね) : chicken meatballs
- Negima(ねぎま) : chicken thigh and scallion
There are 2 types of flavors
When you order yakitori, you are always asked tare (yakitori sauce) or shio (salt). What you pick totally depends on how you like to eat. Tare is made of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. These three simple ingredients make the best yakitori sauce. If you prefer shio (salt), then you simply sprinkle the meat with salt before grilling.
Must have equipment for Yakitori
I recommend you get bamboo skewers when you cook Yakitori. Amazon has them for cheap but sometimes you can find them at your local grocery store! The other thing is if you love Yakitori, I’d recommend getting a small barbecue grill. Unfortunately i don’t have one so I used a wire rack when making this recipe.
Tsukune mixture Ingredients
- 200 g ground chicken
- 1/3 large onion
- 1 green onion
- 1 tsp bouillon
- 1 tsp ginger I normally use this tube ginger
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch or potato starch If you can find katakuriko, then I recommend you use it!
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sake
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Japanese mayonnaise I love KEWPIE Japanese Mayonnaise
Yakitori sauce (tare) Ingredients
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Mince ginger, onion, and green onion.
- In a medium bowl, add ground chicken, mayonnaise, and bouillon. Mix it all up!
- Add minced ginger, cornstarch or potato starch (I used katakuriko) , salt, freshly ground black pepper, sake, and soy sauce in the bowl. Mix them all up!
- Add onion and green onion to the bowl and mix well.
- Form the mixture into 1.5 inch size long pieces.
- Line a jelly pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with oil. Put the meat pieces in the pan.
- Set oven to 450F° (232C°) and cook for 17 minutes. please put the pan on the second rack in the oven.Check and open the oven after 10 minutes.
- After the timer goes off, take out from the oven and now let's make Yakitori sauce.
- In a medium pan, add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Cook on medium heat until it's boiling. Boil for 1 minute.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add the baked Tsukune in the pan. Cook both sides for 4 minutes each.
- Move the yakitori onto a plate and pierce them with the skewers in the middle!
- Finished! This is one of the best side dishes/ appetizers.