Easy Japanese Dinner: Tsukune & the Best Salad Dressing, EVER

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jan 16, 2017 / 0 comments

Do you love Japanese food, but feel intimidated by the great attention to detail that Japanese cooks do? Never fear – I am a quick cook who loves easy meals. This meal, of salad with (no lie) the best salad dressing EVER, and Tsukune (Chicken patties) is so easy. It comes together and is done within 30 minutes – and you’ve got time to play Angry Birds or read a magazine while you’re waiting. Try it – your taste buds will thank you!

Easy Japanese dinner - Tsukune (chicken patties) and the best salad dressing, EVER

Easy Japanese Dinner: Tsukune (Chicken Patties) Recipe

Chicken patties Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
1/3 c shredded sweet onion
3-4 green onions, finely minced
1 t soy sauce
Pinch sugar
3-4 T Cornstarch
1 T coconut (or vegetable) oil

Sauce Ingredients:
2 T sugar
2 T sake
2 T mirin (you could use rice vinegar, if you don’t have mirin, a sweet Japanese vinegar. If you use rice vinegar, add a bit more sugar)
2 T soy sauce


Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

Combine all chicken patty ingredients except cornstarch and oil. Mix well, form into small patties (2 inches across). If you’re in a hurry, roll them into meatballs and then you’ll squish them when they are in the pan.

Roll the patties/meatballs in cornstarch and then place into the pan. If you made meatballs, squish them into patties with your hand or the back of a flipper. If you use turkey, as I did in these photos, they won’t hold together as well as chicken does. That’s ok – everyone loves the little crispy bits.

Cooking easy Japanese chicken patties

Fry a few minutes on each side. You will probably have to do this in two batches, as they won’t all fit in the pan. As the first batch is browned, remove to a plate.

They don’t need to be done, just holding together. When all patties are browned, scoot them around so that all will fit into the pan. Pour the sauce over the entire pan, making sure it gets into all the corners between patties.

cooking easy Japanese chicken patties

Turn the heat to low and let the patties cook in the sauce. The sauce will reduce greatly, to almost a thick syrup, within 5-7 minutes. Flip the patties over to coat the other sides with the saucy goodness. Done! Watch your family members rush to the pan to get the little crispy bits. Heh heh. Serve with Japanese rice.

cooking easy Japanese chicken patties


Japanese Salad Dressing Recipe (the best you've ever had)

Japanese salad dressing recipe - the best salad dressing you've ever had

In your blender, mix:

A 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped (be sure to chop across the grain, to cut the fibers and minimize stringiness)
¼ c sushi rice vinegar
¼ c mirin
¼ c oil (I use olive oil)
1 t sesame oil
1 T tomato paste
2 T soy sauce

Note: If you don’t have sushi rice vinegar and mirin, you can substitute seasoned rice vinegar for the whole amount, and add a pinch of sugar.


Serve over a green lettuce salad. Don't be surprised when your kids ask for seconds of salad!!!