Japanese chicken meatballs (tsukune)

Japanese chicken meatballs (tsukune) by Bent Street Kitchen

I love Japanese food and can happily eat it everyday.  It's tasty without the flavours being overpowering and satisfying without being too filling.

I've had these chicken meatballs or tsukune at various restaurants but have never tried to make them myself until now.   I've had them grilled on skewers or pan-fried like this recipe. I went with the easier option of pan frying and not having to put them on skewers. I got the original recipe from Maori Murota's "Tokyo Cult Recipes" but adjusted it.

These tsukune are great paired with a side of Japanese pasta salad and a cold glass of chardonnay. Nyum!


500 g chicken mince

1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and grated

2 shallots, finely chopped 

1 T and 1 t soy sauce

1 T and 1 t mirin



2 t sesame oil

1 egg

1 t cornflour

grape seed oil, for frying


3 T soy sauce

3 T mirin

2 T sugar

2 T oyster sauce

1 garlic clove


In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

Place chicken, ginger and shallots in a large bowl and knead together. Add soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, egg and cornflour and mix well. To taste test, place half a teaspoon of the mince mixture on a microwave-proof plate and cook on high for 30-45 seconds. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Place about a 1 cm depth of oil in a fry pan that would fit all your meatballs. Heat oil to medium heat. Using a tablespoon, scoop a generous tablespoon of mince and use another tablespoon to push the mince off onto the fry pan.  I shape my mince into patties rather than meatballs to help them cook evenly. Cook until browned on one side. Turn over and leave until cooked through. Remove meatballs from the fry pan and put on a plate. Tip out excess oil from the pan.

Put the sauce into the fry pan and turn up the temperature to medium high heat until the sauce thickens, taking care not to burn the sauce. Replace the meatballs and any juices on the plate and coat meatballs with the sauce. Discard garlic. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

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baked chicken curry

baked chicken curry by Bent Street Kitchen

baked chicken curry by Bent Street Kitchen

It's probably dangerous to mess with a classic but I had a really clear vision and taste of how I wanted this dish to be. There are many forms of chicken curry but with this recipe I'm paying homage to food usually found in Hong Kong style cafes.

Hong Kong style cafes were really popular back in the 1980s and they typically served a mix of Hong Kong or Macau style Western food. Menus would typically have cheese and egg sandwiches, thick white toast with condensed milk, baked pork chop on rice, tomato sauce steak with rice, baked seafood in cream sauce served with spaghetti, black coffee with lemon and even a cold glass of Horllcks (yes, the malted milk drink). 

There are some Hong Kong style cafes around Sydney's Chinatown but I haven't been to one in ages. I often go to the cafes in Hong Kong with my family.

When I was creating this dish in my mind, I was thinking of mixing some cooking styles. I wanted a full curry flavour, golden brown chicken skin, waxy roasted potatoes instead of the usual boiled texture you get in curries and caramelised red capsicum that you only get from roasting.

I think this dish is absolutely delicious. I'm so pleased it turned out the way I hoped it would. Of course, now I'm already thinking of stretching the fusion vibe further by adding some cheese and turning it into a curry chicken rice bake. Stay tuned!





700 g chicken wings, wing tips discarded and excluded from weight, cut in half at the joints

2 medium-sized red delight potatoes, peeled, cut into 4 cm chunks, at a 60 degree angle to maximise surface area and reduce cooking time

1 red capsicum, deseeded, cut into 4 cm squares

1 brown onion, cut lengthwise into 2 cm wide wedges and separated into single pieces

1 long green chilli, optional

4 T light soy sauce

4 T Shaoxing wine

3 T curry powder

2 t sugar

1 cup coconut milk

1 T vegetable oil


In a large bowl, mix soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, curry powder until well combined. Add chicken and potatoes and coat with marinade well. Marinate for 1 hour, stirring once or twice to make sure it marinates evenly. I suggest taking it out of the refrigerator, half an hour before you plan to put it in the oven to reduce cooking time.

Preheat oven to 200 °C.

Heat 1 T vegetable oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add onions and fry for 1 minute and until the onions are well coated with oil. Set aside. I fry the onions first instead of just adding them raw with the rest of the ingredients because this keeps the onion from stewing instead of caramelising while in the oven.

Place chicken and potatoes into a large baking dish along with green chilli, onions, capsicum and coconut milk. Mix well and spread evenly. Cook for 30 mins then remove from oven and give meat and vegetables a turn so they brown evenly. Return to oven and bake for another 20-30 mins. It is done when the juices run clear from the chicken and you can easily slide a knife into the potatoes. Serve with steamed rice.

Serves 4.

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italian-style roast chicken

Italian-Style Roast Chicken by Bent Street Kitchen

As I mentioned in my post about Rome, Italy has given me the best (Western) roast chicken experience I've ever had. Italy's roast chicken or "pollo arrosto" is aromatic, well-seasoned, tender, moist and oh so more-ish. 

So far, this recipe is the closest I've come to replicating the roast chicken I had in Rome and Florence. One thing I learned from experimenting is you don't get much flavour into the chicken by just seasoning the skin. If you season the skin, that's all you really do- season the skin. If you want to season the meat, then you have to go under the skin and put the seasoning on the meat. There are a lot of videos online showing you how to place seasoning under the skin.

I tried a simpler version by not brining and stuffing the chicken with onions and celery but the meat wasn't as moist or flavoursome. I haven't, however, tried to just stuff the chicken without brining it to see if that was good enough. The reason being it has only been over a week since we got back from Italy and I've already made roast chicken a few times. I don't think my husband and I can eat any more roast chicken for the next while or we'd grow feathers.  I will of course revise the recipe if I come up with another version but I think this one will be pretty hard to beat. Let me know how you go with this recipe.


1.5 kg chicken, preferably free-range

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped


3 T chopped fresh rosemary

1 T chopped fresh sage

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 lemon, sliced into 12 lenghtwise wedges

1/8 c olive oil

15 g sea salt (using 8-10 grams of salt per kg of chicken as a guide)

freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c sea salt for brining


Place 1/4 c salt in stock pot and add 5 litres of cold water. Stir until salt has dissolved. Add chicken making sure it is completely submerged. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1.5 hours, or more if you like. Drain, pat dry and leave chicken out at room temperature for about half an hour before placing it in the oven.

Preheat oven to 225°C.

Juice lemon wedges but only up until they're 80% dry. Discard seeds. Set aside juice.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper under the skin and inside the cavity, leaving aside some salt to use on the skin once we've stuffed the chicken. Mix the herbs and garlic together and rub under the skin and inside the cavity. Place 8 of the lemon wedges under the skin and the rest inside the cavity. Place onions and celery inside the cavity and truss the legs with kitchen twine to make sure the stuffing stays in place. Add reserved lemon juice by pouring into neck cavity. Rub olive oil all over the skin then season with salt and pepper.  

Place the chicken on a roasting pan, breast side up. Put on middle shelf of oven and roast for 15 minutes until skin is golden brown. Turn heat down to 170°C and move roasting pan to bottom shelf. Cook for 1.5 hours or until done. Using a meat thermometer, measure the temperature at the centre of the thickest part of the breast and thighs. The meat is cooked when it has reached 75°C. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6.

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sweet and sticky barbecue chicken with shaved fennel

Sweet and Sticky Barbeque Chicken with Shaved Fennel

I had some hoisin pork rib sauce leftover and thought it too good to waste especially after the painstaking effort of grating all that ginger.  It was also a sweltering 32°C in Sydney and I did not want to wilt any further by making something elaborate. I decided to use the leftover sauce on some chicken thighs I had in the freezer and pair it off with a refreshing fennel salad. 


8 chicken thighs, bone in

1 portion hoisin pork rib sauce

4 fennel bubs

2 lemons

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 200 °C.

Grease a shallow baking tray with cooking oil. Place thighs on tray with skin side down. Cook for 20 minutes. Take out of oven and brush chicken with sauce. Cook for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn chicken over with a spatula trying not to damage the skin. Brush skin side with sauce and return to oven for another 7 minutes.

Prepare fennel by trimming off the stems and reserving the lacy fronds. Slice the fennel bulb using a mandolin. Toss sliced fennel and fronds with oilve oil and season to taste with sea salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Serves 4.

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