Kushiyaki of the week: Tsukune

This is the start of a series on Kushiyaki.  Kushiyaki means any food skewered and grilled.  Yakitori and motsuyaki are both types of kushiyaki.  Mostly these articles will each be on a particular stick – but some will be about the types of restaurants that serve kushiyaki and how it is best ordered, cooked, served, eaten…  Kushiyaki are seasoned with either salt or sauce (shio or tare).  I will give my view on the best way to eat each piece.

TSUKUNE(shio/tare? – I think tare, few have shio)

There are so many types of different yakitori sticks and few are common to all yakitori shops.  Tsukune is one that seems to be.  Tsukune is essentially minced chicken mixed with negi (like leek but thinner and with a taste similar to spring onions), egg, salt and sometimes a bit of filler, like bread crumbs.  Yakitori shops all seem to have their own recipe.  Some include ground up cartilage that can give a slightly gritty texture. 

My favourite shop keeps the mix in a cold container and they only shape it onto the stick to order.  Others seem to do it in advance.  Some shops make it like a series of balls on the stick, but I have noticed that these are often mass produced ones that are full of filler.  Some of the fancier shops will serve it with raw egg yolk to dip it into.




Good tsukune should be hot through and never dry.  They are a great introduction to yakitori for people who have never been lucky enough to have real yakitori before – especially if they are victims of the “yakitori” served in those weird Japanese restaurants in Australia!

So far in this series I have only done tsukune.


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