Tsukune

The Japantown neighbourhood of San Francisco is relatively small. However, the influence of the area spreads out across the city in many forms. In the Hayes Valley neighbourhood, just south of Japantown, I had the good fortune to stumble across a lovely Japanese “farmhouse” restaurant, Nojo. It was a memorable experience and of the dishes I tried there, I most liked Tsukune, a chicken meatball glazed in a combination of soy, mirin, lemon, ginger and brown sugar, then grilled.

Since, I’ve been making versions of Tsukune, better each time, and now I have one to publish.

Meatball

  • 1 lb Ground chicken
  • 1/2 lb Ground Pork
  • 3 Shitake Mushroom Caps, chopped
  • 1/2 C Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg White
  • 3 T Scallions, chopped
  • 2 t Ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 t Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 t Agave
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Black Pepper, ground
  • 2 t Cornstarch

Mix all that up and form into small-ish meatballs. Definitely let them refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight

Glaze

  • 1/4 C Mirin
  • 1/4 C Soy
  • 2 T Lemon Juice
  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 T Honey
  • 2 t Ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t Black Pepper, ground
  • 1 t Cornstarch
  • 1 T Water

Mix the water and cornstarch, set aside. Place all other ingredients in a small pot, boil briefly then set heat to low. Stir in cornstarch/water and continue stirring for 4-5 minutes or until thick. Set aside to cool.

Now, these are best grilled out but here is my version if you don’t have a grill.

Place a small amount of oil in a pan over high heat. Sear the meatballs in batches about 2 minutes then flip over for another 2. Remove to ovenproof dish, glaze one side then broil for 3-4 minutes on one side, flip, glaze, then 3-4 more minutes.

IMG_1410

Featured here with rice, snow peas and mini-squashes. Traditionally, there is a raw egg yolk dipping sauce that is served along side this dish; I did not care for it since it masked the other flavors.

As an aside, I typically double the recipe for the glaze and keep it on hand for stir frying. Some research assistants helping in this experiment loved the  glaze while others needed to bugger it up with unseemly amount of soy. Personally, I’m a huge fan of ginger and lemon together in the same bite. Tastes vary.

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