Tsukune is like a Japanese version of meatballs. Tsukune means kneading and rounding. Ground meat such as chicken, pork or fish is used to make a meatball. Kids like Tsukune, and it is popular for their bento (lunch box). It normally is coated with sweet sauce. Adults like it, and Tsukune is a part of a Yakitori menu. It is served on sticks and goes with beer or sake. They are lite and airy. Tsukune uses a whole egg, but uses it two ways. An egg white is separated from yolk. When you mix ground chicken with tofu, only egg white is added. Cooked Tsukune is dipped in raw egg yolk. Wow! I like the idea because it goes with my no wasting policy! In Japan, people eat raw eggs. Raw eggs can be used for a dipping sauce for Sukiyaki, drop on a noodle dish, or just over freshly steamed rice (this is everyone’s favorite!). Unfortunately, in the U.S., it’s not common to eat raw eggs because most eggs you buy at the store are not pasteurized. Eggs are still full of nutrients when they’re cooked. So don’t try to eat like Japanese when you live in America!
500 Calorie Set Meal: Tofu Chicken Tsukune
Main: Tofu Chicken Tsukune (Tofu Chicken Burger)
Side 1. Broccoli Kinpira (Sautéed Broccoli Stem)
Side 2: Non-oil Miso Dressing Salad
Soup: Gobo Miso Soup (Burdock Miso Soup)
All recipes are made for 2 servings. This printable recipe box will allow you to change the serving size to adjust the recipe.
Tofu Chicken Tsukune (Tofu Chicken Burger) 197 calories
By making the shape of mini burger patties, they are easier to cook and eat. This recipe is made out of ground chicken and mixed with tofu instead of bread crumbs. Using ground chicken makes it a low calorie dish. Using tofu adds volume to the dish and makes it more nutritious.
In order to make Tsukune lite and airy, you need to completely remove the moisture from tofu and knead well with meat. Remember to remove Tsukune from aluminum foil over cooking tray after tray cools down. Otherwise, it sticks to the foil.
Read more Teriyaki Tofu Pork Burger to learn how to remove excess water from tofu.
- 200 g tofu firm
- 100 g ground chicken
- 10 g green onion thin sliced
- 20 g egg beaten, about 1/3 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon potato starch
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 tablespoon water
- 40 g lettuce
- Remove excess water from tofu.
- Place tofu, meat, sliced green onion, egg, soy sauce and potato starch in bowl. Mix well and make two patties.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 F degree, toast setting
- Place the patties on the tray covered with aluminum foil. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Make sauce by mixing sugar, mirin, soy sauce, grated ginger and water in a measuring cup. Microwave with medium heat for 30 second.
- Place cooked patty and hand trimmed lettuce on plate. Pour the sauce over the patty.
Side 1. Broccoli Kinpira (Sautéed Broccoli Stems) 42 calories
Kinpira is a name for burdock. Kinpira also represents a dish where thin strips of root vegetables are fried and boiled with soy sauce and sugar. Broccoli Kinpira uses broccoli stems. This is a good cooking method to consume broccoli stems. All you need to do is remove hard skin before cooking. Broccoli stems contain more vitamin C and beta-carotene than broccoli buds. Remember? Carotene get absorbed into body better when eaten with oil.
I love broccoli stems because they are crunchy and sweeter than broccoli buds. Buy fresh broccoli with thick stems. When I buy organically grown broccoli at the store, it comes with thick stems. I couldn’t find out why so? But I like them. This is the best part of broccoli, taste wise and nutrition wise!
Don’t add ground sesame seeds when making dressing. They tend to stick to dish. Same thing for katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and nori (seaweed). Sprinkle DIRECTLY over vegetables before serving.
- 60 g broccoli stems
- 30 g carrot
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon mirin
- 2 teaspoon dashi Japanese fish broth
- 1 dash red pepper powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Remove hard broccoli skin. Cut broccoli stems and carrot into thin strips.
- Make sauce by mixing sugar, soy sauce, mirin and dashi.
- Heat up oil in pan. Cook broccoli and then carrot for a couple of minutes.
- Add the sauce and cook for a few more minutes until vegetables become tender.
- sprinkle sesame seeds to complete.
Side 2: Non-oil Miso Dressing Salad 27 calories
I have been introducing different kinds of salad dressing. This non-oil miso dressing is easy to make and has only 27 calories per tablespoon. Miso is a fermented health food. You can get maximized nutrients by just eating raw vegetables with miso. It taste good, too!
Ponzu, Japanese Citrus Sauce, can be available at grocery stores. It usually is located to next to soy sauce. Read Grilled Garlic Chicke with Ponzu Sauce to learn how to make ponzu.
- Cut daikon, cabbage, and cucumber into strips. Sprinkle salt and leave it for 10 minutes. Rinse with running water in colander and squeeze to remove excess water.
- Made dressing by combining sugar, miso, ponzu in bowl.
- Add vegetables into bowl. Mix well.
Soup: Gobo Miso Soup (Burdock Miso Soup ) 24 calories
Root vegetables like burdock and carrot make simple but great miso soup. As you know, burdock can be tough to chew. And it’s not so easy to slice thinly. Sasagaki is a common cutting method for burdock and even for carrot. Sasagaki means bamboo leaves scratch and was named because the cut shape looks like bamboo leaves. This method is used for long shape vegetables like burdock and carrot. It’s easy. You know how to sharpen a pencil with knife, correct? As a result, you get thinner pieces of vegetables, and they cook faster and soak flavor well. Less time, but more taste! If you have trouble with the Sasagaki method, go ahead and use a peeler!
I have to admit that here in the U.S., you cannot buy young burdock which is softer. If it is too tough to do Sasagaki or peel, soak burdock in warm water for up to 20 minutes. Burdock gets softer and easy to clean and cut. But remember, it is the last resort. Soaking vegetables in water too long causes less flavor and nutrients to escape into water.
- Cut burdock and carrot like sharpening a pencil (Sasagaki method)
- Soak burdock in water for 5 minutes to remove harshness.
- Place dashi and burdock in pot. Bring to boil.
- Add carrot and cook for 1 minute.
- Add miso and simmer for 1 minute.
Steamed Mixed Grain Rice 160 calories
My favorite blend is rolled oat, amaranth, barley, kamut, millet, and quinoa. I add one tablespoon EACH per one cup of white rice. Wash before cooking unless instructed that no washing required. Place white rice and grains in colander and rinse with running water. Add the same amount of water as you cook with regular white rice. Read more How to Cook and Store White Rice. For example, I cook 2 cups of white rice and 2/3 cup of grains with 3 & 1/2 cups of water. If you didn’t care for grain rice, add one teaspoon of Himalayan salt. It will make grains sweeter.
Read more why we should eat more grains!