Saturday•Izakaya: Tsukune

At JapanCulture•NYC we’re launching a new, occasional feature called Saturday•Izakaya.

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You may have noticed that we’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately, so we’ll attempt to recreate some of our favorite izakaya food and drink experiences.

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Delicious Tsukune at Village Yokocho

We decided our first Saturday•Izakaya installment would be tsukune.

What is Tsukune?
Makiko Itoh, author of the Just Bento Cookbook and creator of the websites Just Hungry and Just Bento, says that tsukune means “kneaded and shaped into a round shape.”
Generally cooked yakitori-style with skewers, these chicken meatballs can also be pan fried or stewed or even baked.

Since we already had a good idea of what goes into tsukune, we thought we’d take ideas from a couple of recipes and ultimately create our own. WARNING: This act of kitchen confidence far exceeds actual kitchen ability.

For the base of our tsukune, we referred to a recipe we found on, and for the tare, or sauce, we looked to

We took a few liberties with measurements for our tsukune, and our actual recipe turned out like this:

JapanCulture•NYC’s Tsukune

  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 cup panko
  • 5 shiitake mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 1 egg
  • Chopped scallions
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Canola oil for cooking

For the tare:

  • 1 ½ tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sake

How did it turn out? Let’s roll the videotape:

As you can see, it wasn’t exactly what we’d find at an izakaya, but it tasted pretty good.

The Verdict: We’ll certainly try again, but in the meantime, we’ll probably just go to our favorite izakaya in the city. Stay tuned for more Saturday•Izakaya!

Lately We’ve Enjoyed Tsukune Here:

Izakaya Ten – 207 Tenth Avenue (between 22nd and 23rd Streets)

Village Yokocho – 8 Stuyvesant Street