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Everyday Harumi
by Harumi Kurihara
Tsukune is the word for a ground meat patty, a sort of Japanese mini hamburger. They can be made with any combination of ground meat, though the usual "ground meat" on sale in Japan is a mixture of pork and beef. A good way to introduce more vegetables into your diet is by adding chopped vegetables, such as onion, leeks, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, or celery, to the ground meat. You can serve these tsukune with a teriyaki sauce or with a miso dressing or simply with salt and pepper. You can also change the shape from a burger shape to a sausage, it is a very useful dish, popular with all families.
Serves 4


    • 1 small onion (about 4 oz), peeled
    • 1 stalk celery
    • 10 oz ground meat
    • salt and pepper, to season
    • 1 medium egg
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 5 to 6 basil leaves

For The Teriyak1 Sauce:

    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup mirin
    • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar
    • sunfloweror vegetable oil for frying
    • shichimi togarashi or chili pepper, sansho (or szechwan pepper) and sudachi wedges (or lemon) to taste


1. To make the teriyaki sauce: Combine the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in a pan and slowly bring to a boil. Turn the heat down low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until it has thickened. Skim the surface of any scum if necessary and set aside.

2. To make the tsukune: Roughly chop the onion. Remove any stringy parts from the celery and chop it roughly.

3. Put all the ingredients, except the basil, into a bowl and knead to combine well. Finally, chop the basil into tiny pieces and add to the mixture. It is important to add the basil at the last minute so it retains its color.

4. Shape the mixture into rounds about 2 inches in diameter. Drizzle a little oil in a nonstick skillet and heat. When hot, add the tsukune and cook until nicely browned on both sides.

5. Take the cooked tsukune, dip them in the teriyaki sauce while still hot, and sprinkle with shichimi togarashi and sansho according to your own preference. Serve with sudachi or lemon wedges on the side.


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