Japanese Cuisine: Nankotsu Tsukune

I have already introduced many ways to make “Tsukune”, or chicken patties in yakitori fashion.

Nankotsu/軟骨/ means cartilage or cartilageous parts of the chicken (and other animals) bones. The Japanese eat them as such in yakitori, but they also add great taste to patties. Moreover they are very nutritious, so do make a good use of them if you can get your hands on fresh ones!

INGREDIENTS: For 3~4 people

-Chicken: 200 g (minced)
-Nankotsu/cartilage: 90 g
-Onion: 1/3 of a medium-sized one
-Fresh ginger: a piece of 5×5 cm
-Salt: a pinch
-Black pepper: a pinch
-Cornstarch: 1 tablespoon
-Japanese sake: a little (for boiling wate)
-Water: for boiling
-Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons
-Sugar: 2 tablespoons
-Japanese sake: 1 tablespoon (for seasoning/cooking)
-White sesame seeds: for seasoning before serving
-Leeks: cut to length appropriate for skewers


-In a food processor drop the minced chicken, onion, ginger, salt and pepper cornstarch. Let turn for a little while. Stop and drop in the cartilages/nankotsu. Turn until the cartilages have been broken into small pieces.

-Make chicken balls either by hand or with two spoons. Boil them in water added with alittle Japanese sake. Scoop balls out once they have started foating on the surface.

-In a small frypan pour the soy sauce, sugar and sake. Fry the chicken balls with pieces of leeks (broccoli is fine, too) in the sauce till they are well coated.

-Skewer the chicken balls and leek as shown on top picture. Grill them in toatser or oven until they attain the right colour and crispiness. Baste them with the remaining sauce half way!

Makes for a great snack withh beer, or a good addition to bento!

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4 thoughts on “Japanese Cuisine: Nankotsu Tsukune”

      1. Yes i realized that your in my favorits three times. I do my search and if i find something i hit favorites. I quess the real kicker was the tsukune. I have worked in Japanese food and i want to open a yakitori-ya in the mid-west but i could not find a good recipe they are have been very basic ones. I wanted to use the skin and i love the fact that you had different recipes. I quess i was so excited that the recipes that you have there are what i was thinking to myself. Hey you want to open a yakitori-ya? there could be a huge market here.


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