These were quite a lot of fun to make! As you can tell from the photo, I have acquired a sandwich press/grill and have been using it. I think I made panini exactly once, and then it’s been more burger-y things non-stop. I see no reason not to cook them in a skillet, though, if that’s what you have.
Like a lot of Japanese dishes, the flavours are distinctive but mild. You can serve these with rice or noodles and vegetables as a meal, or make them smaller and serve them as an appetizer or party tid-bit. It seems to be pretty common to cook them on a bamboo skewer, but if you decide to do that you will need to soak your skewers in water for at least half an hour before using them.
Most of these ingredients should be widely available. The only one I have trouble getting is the mirin; I have to admit I substituted it with sherry.
8 to 24 patties
30 minutes prep time
Make the Yakitori Sauce:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon potato starch
1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 slices of ginger
Mix the sugar and potato starch in a very small pot, then mix in the water until smooth. Mix in all the remaining liquids. Add the ginger slices.
Heat the mixture over medium heat until simmering; stir frequently. Once it thickens – just a minute or two – remove it from the heat and let cool. Remove and discard the ginger.
Make the Tsukune (Chicken Patties):
1 green onion OR 2 tablespoons finely minced chives
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 large egg
2 tablespoons potato starch
2 teaspoons miso
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
500 grams (1 pound) lean ground chicken
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
Wash, trim and finely chop the green onion or chives. Put them in a mixing bowl. Grate in the ginger. Add the egg, potato starch, miso and sesame oil, and whisk everything together well until the miso in particular is dissolved.
Add the ground chicken and mix thoroughly. Often with making meat patties you want to handle the mixture as little as possible, but in this case it is the opposite – the meat should be mixed until really very smooth.
Heat a grill or frying pan over medium-high heat; brush it with a little oil. Spoon out patties of the size you want, and spread them out to about 1/2″ thick. Cook for about 4 minutes per side. I used a quarter cup measure to form the patties and got exactly 8 of them. You could also form them around bamboo skewers but in that case you must remember to soak the skewers for at least half an hour before forming and cooking the tsukune.
Brush the patties with the Yakitori sauce, and pass any extra for those who would like a little more.
Last year at this time I made Chicken, Corn, Peach, & Tomato Salad.