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Japanese Home Cooking MAY 2020

Why do we call these “Stealth Burgers” at my house? Because while they’re cooking, every family member wanders into the kitchen, one by one, saying, hey, something smells great, when’s dinner? And then they devour these down to the last bite…not stopping once to ask what’s in them or suspect how insanely healthy they are.

Yakitori Chicken Mini-Burgers

Chicken Patties in Japanese BBQ Sauce

Chicken mini-burgers in Japanese yakitori-style sauce in a pan with with green onions and ginger
This is a little less than half a recipe. I usually freeze half of them, then throw together a batch of sauce on another night for an easy five-minute dinner

Makes around 40 mini-burgers (8 servings, if one serving size is 5 mini-burgers)

Chicken Mini-Burgers:

12 oz (340g) ground chicken

12 oz (340g) silken tofu (the soft, custard-y kind, not the firm sponge-y kind)

2 cups panko (or regular breadcrumbs)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine

2 eggs

1 cube chicken consommé

½ t (3g) salt

½ t (3g) pepper

3 T (45ml) canola or other flavorless oil

Simmering sauce:*

½ c (120ml) sake

½ c (120ml) mirin

3 T (45ml) soy sauce

2 t (20g) sugar

*This is for one pan of mini-burgers (half a recipe). If you want to serve all 40 mini-burgers, double the sauce amount and use two pans

Toppings:

Slivered green onions

Slivered fresh ginger

Three photos showing how to cut slivered fresh ginger and green onions
Here’s how to cut the fresh ginger and green onions. I use about 2″(6cm) of the light green part of the onions, and they don’t have to be perfect––it’s OK if they’re a little rough. If you want them to curl a bit, cut them before starting the burgers and put them in cold water in the fridge

Put all chicken mini-burger ingredients into a large mixing bowl and crumble the chicken consommé cube over all. Mix all ingredients together until smooth (you can use a mixer, if you like). The mixture will be much softer than regular hamburgers.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. With your fingers, scoop up walnut-sized spoonfuls of chicken mixture and plop them into the hot pan, flattening slightly into small irregular patties. Flip when browned. Set aside. Repeat until all patties are cooked.

Frying pan with browned chicken mini-burgers
Here’s about how browned they should be

Wash the frying pan, then return it to the stove and stir together sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil. Arrange browned burgers in a single layer in the sauce.

Turn down heat to low and simmer five minutes until sauce is slightly reduced. If it cooks down too much, add water.

Top with:

Slivered green onions

Slivered fresh ginger

Japanese bowl and chopsticks with rice and chicken mini-burgers topped with slivered ginger and green onions
Serve with rice

These also super good with Creamy Sesame Noodles (You can find the recipe in the April 2020 Japanagram)

If you love all things Japan, you might enjoy The Last Tea Bowl Thief too

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

For three hundred years, a missing masterpiece is passed from one fortune seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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