versatile TSUKUNE (chicken patty) base 


When I showed this picture to my friend, she said ” it will never happen to me“.

This is OBENTO for my husband.   I have been living in the US for more than 15 years now, and I know lunch styles are different for each country.  For us Japanese, as well as breakfast, lunch is also important, and we have a wonderful OBENTO culture.

Recently the word OBENTO ,or lunch box is often appearing in food magazines, and they suggest healthy and delicious lunch box menus.

My friend who was very surprised to see my OBENTO for my husband told me she could do PB & J, but she wouldn’t wake up early in the morning and prepare that kind of OBENTO.

I know sometimes it is hard to wake up early, but OBENTO culture is in my DNA! This is THE LUNCH for me. This is THE LUNCH mothers and wives would like to prepare for someone they love.  We have a special word for OBENTO made by wives.  That is AISAI BENTO, literally means BENTO made by wives with love.

Today I would like to  introduce one of the nice items not only for dinner but also for AISAI BENTO!


That is TSUKUNE , chicken patty.

If you have been to Japan, you many know what TUSKUNE is.

Tsukune is made of grounded chicken and ,in some cases , vegetables such as green onion.


(they are yakitori)

Wikipedia says tsukune is a Japanese chicken meatball most often cooked yakitori style.

The last two in the photo were tsukune.

My tsukune base is very versatile.  Once you make the base, you could make meatball with sauce, or put that in the hot-pot, or like I did, fill them into vegetables and pan fry them.

Besides, they freeze very well, so you can stock them in the freezer!  How nice!

Even my friend could prepare OBENTO then!

I sometimes make grounded chicken at home using standing mixer attachment, but you could use store-bought grounded chicken or turkey.

Depending your favor, you could use chicken breast or thigh.  When I ground at home, I put green onions and ginger at the same time, that way they distribute well into the meat.


You may be able to use a food processor.  I used to do that.  Just chop meat by cube, and put all the ingredients you want.  Be careful not to run the machine too much.  We don’t want paste here.  We need some meat texture left.

Either home-made or store-bought, now  you have grounded poultry in your hand.  Then I will show one example of tsukune base.

Here are the ingredients example.


  • 1 pound of ground poultry
  • 2-3 tablespoons of green onions, finely chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoons of grounded ginger or only liquid
  • 2 teaspoons of shiokoji (if you have)
  • 2 teaspoons of grounded sesame (optional)
  • some wild mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 medium size cooked carrot, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 large size egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons of potato starch (or any other starch)
  • 2 teaspoons of sake


Remember, you can use any vegetable as far as you chop them fine, and they are easy to be heated through. ( if not, cook them beforehand.)

Egg is kind of MUST ingredient for tsukune to have soft texture, but you can adjust other condiments.  For example, when I bake tsukune with sauce, I don’t put any salt.


When I prepare, I make two kinds of tsukune base.  One has lots of enoki mushrooms, which give tsukune crisp texture.  I use this for chicken patty for my husband’s obento.


19 (600x450)

I shaped them and put sesame on both sides and sautéed them with shoyu based sweet sauce.



The other  base in the bowl was for hot-pot.  I put lots of vegetables along with those tsukune ball, so I didn’t put any vegetable other than green onions and ginger.



For this obento, I put tsukune base inside baby bell peppers.



Half the peppers and fill tuskune base inside the peppers covered with potato starch.  Then pan-fried them, first meat side down, and then flip them and cover the pan with lid and heat them through.You can eat them with soy sauce and some citrus if you want.



Would you like to make this kind of OBENTO for someone you love?

Set the alarm at 5!

I heard someone says NO WAY!!




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