Japan Eats

Recipe: Tori to renkon tsukune (chicken and lotus root meatballs, teriyaki style)

Liven up your next bento with these chicken and lotus root meatballs

Tsukune are meatballs, usually made from either chicken or pork. They make a delicious meal, or an excellent addition to a bento (Japanese luchbox).

Here, we’re adding a twist to usual recipe by adding renkon (lotus root). The grated lotus root softens the meatball mix, while the other – roughly chopped – half of the vegetable provides some texture.

If you prepare this for a bento, garnish with shichimi (assorted spices) instead of asatsuki. The more adventurous can even use leftovers as filling for teriyaki meatball sandwiches (just add lettuce and mayonnaise!)

Chicken and lotus root meatballs

Chicken and lotus root meatballs

Ingredients (serves 3 – 4)

  • 300 g of chicken mince
  • 150 g of lotus root
  • 1 egg
  • 10 g of ginger (1 clove)
  • 50 g green onion
  • 1 teaspoon of sake
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons of sake
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of mirin
  • 1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons of chopped asatsuki chives

Method

Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a bowl containing roughly 2 cups of water. Peal the lotus root and place it in the water for ten minutes to whiten it and take out any bitterness.

Take the lotus root out of the bowl and remove any moisture with the paper towels. Chop half (75 g) of the lotus root roughly into pieces 1 – 5 mm square. Grate the other half of the lotus root.

Finely chop the ginger and green onion. Take a bowl and mix the chicken, ginger, onion, lotus root, sake, soy, egg and potato starch until sticky.

Pour 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into a frying pan and warm it on a low heat. Moisten your hands with water and shape the batter into balls, then sauté with the lid on the pan. One one side becomes brown, turn them over. Sauté both sides for 5 – 6 minutes in total on a low heat. Repeat the process until you finish the mixture.

Next, prepare the teriyaki sauce. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Once you have finished cooking the meatballs, turn the heat to medium and pour the sauce into the frying pan. When it comes to the boil, turn the heat to low and dunk the meatballs into the sauce – 1 minute for each side.

Boil the sauce down until it thickens. Plate the meatballs and pour the remaining sauce over them. Garnish with a pinch of sesame seeds and chopped asatsuki chives.

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