These are Japanese-style chicken patties. Tofu mixed in the meat makes the patties bouncy and soft. Flavoured with miso and soy sauce, these chicken patties don’t need sauce to go with them. Shiso (perilla) leaves wrapped around the patties decorate them and give an extra Japanese touch to the dish.
It is difficult for me to understand the exact difference between patties and burgers. According to Wikipedia, they can be inter-changeable and usage varies depending on countries. But in Australia, I think my dish today is called patties – the chicken mince (ground chicken) is flattened and cooked.
The Japanese name for chicken patties is ‘toriniku hanbāgu’ (鶏肉ハンバーグ) where ‘toriniku’ (鶏肉) means chicken meat and ‘hanbāgu’ (ハンバーグ) is a Japanese way of pronouncing Humberg, which came from ‘Hamburg steak’.
Hamberg is usually made with a mixture of beef and pork. That’s why they add ‘toriniku’ to explain that it is a Hamburg made with chicken mince (ground chicken). Hamberg is a popular dish in Japan and I will have to post the Japanese style Humberg recipe one day.
But today’s dish, Chicken Patties Wrapped in Shiso does not resemble the Western style Hamberg at all. The flavour is subtle and use of shiso leaves gives a Japanese styling to the dish. And the patties are bite-sized.
ABOUT SHISO (しそ OR 紫蘇)
I cannot talk about this recipe without describing shiso. I love shiso. Whenever I see shiso leaves sold at a Japanese grocery store, I have to buy them even if I have no plan to use them. I just love the taste of shiso, which I cannot describe unfortunately because it’s nothing like the herbs I know of.
Shiso is a Japanese perilla that has broad leaves of about 8cm x 6cm (3⅛” x 2⅜”). The most commonly available shiso leaves are green leaves but there is a red shiso (deep purple colour) as well. Red shiso is usually used for the red colouring to pickle plums and other vegetables.
You can buy shiso leaves at Japanese grocery stores. You can also buy seeds of shiso online for you to grow at home. You might find perilla leaves in Asian grocery stores or Asian vegetable shops, but they are most likely Korean perilla leaves, which are larger and taste quite different from the Japanese perilla. Vietnamese cuisine also uses perilla but it seems to be a different species and the leaves are rather small.
The uses for shiso leaves are endless in Japanese cooking. You might have seen shiso leaves underneath a few slices of sashimi at a Japanese restaurant. Shiso leaves are also used in sushi rolls with pickled plum; as a small sheet to place grated daikon next to a grilled fish; as a tempura ingredient; in pickles; as a topping for cold tofu; in salad; in pasta; etc, etc. It also goes well with cheese!
Shiso buds and flowers are similar to that of basil and are also used in Japanese dishes. They are often used to decorate the plate but sometimes used as a spice to be added to a dipping soy sauce for sashimi. Use chopsticks or fingers to scrape off the buds and flowers and add them to the soy sauce.
I added finely chopped shiso leaves to the patty mixture but this is optional. If you can’t find shiso at all, you can still make patties and cook them without wrapping them in shiso. It does not give you the shiso flavour but it is still very tasty with miso and soy sauce flavouring. If you are not using shiso, you may want to add finely chopped shallots (scallions) to the patty mixture.
I hope you can find shiso leaves and have an opportunity to taste them by themselves, then cook today’s dish. Chicken Patties wrapped in Shiso are delicious at room temperature and great for bento boxes. A typical make-ahead dish.
These are Japanese-style chicken patties. Tofu mixed in the meat makes the patties bouncy and soft. Flavoured with miso and soy sauce, these chicken patties don’t need sauce to go with them. Shiso (perilla) leaves wrapped around the patties decorate the patties and give an extra Japanese touch to the dish.
- 8 shiso leaves (note 1)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g (3.5 oz) silken tofu
- 250g (8.8 oz) chicken mince
- 5 shiso leaves finely chopped (optional, note 2)
- 1½ tsp miso (note 3)
- 1 tsp light soy sauce (note 4)
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp corn flour (corn starch)
Wrap tofu in a clean cloth or 2-3 layers of paper towel and squeeze water out until most of it is removed.
Add tofu and all other Chicken Patties ingredients in a bowl, except corn flour, and mix well, ensuring that miso is distributed evenly and there are no large pieces of tofu.
Sprinkle corn flour widely (so that it doesn't become a big lump) and mix well.
Level the surface of the chicken mixture and draw lines to divide the mixture into 8 equal portions.
Oil (not in Ingredients) your palms and roll each portion into a ball, then flatten it to make a flat oval patty of about 1.5cm (⅝”) thickness.
Wrap the patty with a shiso leaf so that equal portions of the leaf cover both sides of the patty. The leaf will not cover the entire patty but this is intentional. (See the last photo in the post).
Repeat step 5 and 6 to make 8 patties.
Heat oil in a fry pan or skillet over medium low heat.
Place the patties in the pan with the upper half of the leaf face down. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until light golden brown. Then turn over the patties.
Turn down the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom of the patties is golden brown.
Turn the heat off and serve.
1. Shiso is a Japanese perilla that can be purchased at Japanese grocery stores. Please read the post for more details about shiso.
If shiso cannot be obtained, you can make chicken patties without shiso and they are still delicious.
2. If you are unable to find shiso and are making chicken patties without it, add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots (scallions) to the patty mix.
3. Either white miso or light brown miso is recommended here. Dark miso (aka miso) makes the chicken patties brownish and the flavour is a bit too strong.
4. For the same reason as note 3 above, I used light soy sauce to maintain the light colour of the patties but if you only have normal soy sauce, it is still OK to use. Dark soy sauce is not suited for this.
5. Chicken patties Wrapped in Perilla are excellent make ahead dish. You can serve at room temperature and they are great for bento box (lunch box).