Shrimp and tofu mini-burgers (tsukune) with red pepper sauce


There are already several mini-burger or tsukune dumpling type of recipes here, but here’s another one. What can I say - mini-burgers are just perfect for bentos: they taste good when they are cold, can be made in quantity, and usually freeze very well.

This time it’s a shrimp and tofu version, adapted quite a bit from a recipe in a recent issue of Kyou no ryouri: Beginners (Today’s Cooking: Beginners) magazine. It’s best when made with fresh shrimp, but uncooked frozen shrimp is fine. You probably don’t want to be messing around with shrimp paste in the morning, so it can made it the night before (have some for dinner too - it’s great hot) or freeze a batch. The sweet-hot red pepper jam I’ve used as a sauce goes very well with it, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the jam, use a sweet or hot bottled chili sauce.

Recipe: Shrimp and tofu mini-burgers or pan-fried tsukune

To make about 20-24 mini-burgers, depending on how big you make them

  • 400g / 14 oz. peeled and deveined fresh or frozen (uncooked) shrimp
  • 200g / 7 oz. firm tofu
  • 1 Tbs. sake or mirin
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 Tbs. or so grated fresh ginger
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms (or substitute 4 regular button mushrooms)
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 small egg (or 1 large egg minus about a teaspoonful of egg white)
  • Oil for cooking

The sauce:

Note: This is much easier to make if you have a food processor, though you can do it by hand.

Sprinkle the shrimp with sake and set aside. (This takes away any ‘fishiness’ from the shrimp, as well as adding flavor. See the role of alcohol article.)

Cut the tofu into chunks. Put the tofu in a pot of boiling water to cover, and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain, and let rest in a colander until cool enough to handle. Squeeze out excess moisture by gathering up the tofu in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. (You can also use the microwave mathod of draining tofu described here.) Squish the tofu to crumble it up.

Chop up the green onions and mushrooms. Chop up the shrimp with a knife or in a food processor - you don’t want a paste, but a slightly chunky texture. Combine all of the ingredients except the oil in a bowl and mix together well (or pulse it all together in a food processor).

Heat up a large frying pan or two pans with a little oil. Form the mixture into small burgers or meatballs with wet hands, and put into the pan. Fry on both sides until golden brown.

If you are going to freeze the burgers, stop at this point, let them cool to room temperature and pack away in freezer containers or bags. They should be consumed within a month.

To add the sauce: Reheat the mini-burgers if necessary, in a dry pan. Add about 1 teaspoon of jam per burger to a hot pan, and coat them rapidly. Let cool before packing into your bento box.

More mini-burgers?

Astute readers may have spotted that that this is not that different from the tuna tofu miso mini burgers, but shrimp gives them a whole new texture and flavor.

Here are some more already on Just Bento and Just Hungry:

Follow and Like our Facebook Page! And visit our sister site, Just Hungry


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I’m so found of your mini

I’m so found of your mini burgers! I discovered them with your blog and like the tofu and green onion mix very much.

Ooooooooh that’s soooo

Ooooooooh that’s soooo funny: I cooked some mini-burgers for lunch today, I made some chicken and sake tsukune (I found the recipe in a book called “yakitori”, bought yesterday, it’s a french book though), it was simply delicious !

I’ll try this, it seems delicious (and I never was disappointed by your recipes I tried ;)) !

any way to do these without tofu?

I have alot of trouble eating soy products and I wonder if you have any recomendations on how to make these without the tofu?

Thanks as always for your wonderfull site!


The texture will be entirely

The texture will be entirely different (denser), but you could make shrimp mini-burgers by omitting the tofu and increasing the amount of shrimp. You could try adding some breadcrumbs to bind the mixture and lighten it a bit too.


I made these for my family last week and they were a huge hit. Do they freeze well. I am planning to make a big batch to store.

Keep the yummy recipes coming! Cheers Air

Sure, they freeze quite well

Sure, they freeze quite well (a slight texture change but nothing major).

What a great idea! This

What a great idea! This recipe sounds wonderful, and so easy to adapt. The sweet-hot red pepper jam hooked me, I’m definitely trying these out!

We would love to feature your mini burgers on the Demy- the first and only digital recipe reader! If interested email me at haleyglasco [at] gmail [dot] com


I tried these yesterday and they were great! Miam!Miam! I used a vegetable-flavored tofu, because this is all I had and it tasted great! I only made half a recipe, because I was not sure I would like these burgers and I regretted it. Thanks a lot!

Love this!

I made this for lunch today and it was loved by all. I’m making a double or triple batch next time and freezing them for quick dinners for the week. Thanks for the recipe!

Praise, praise and more praise

I tried these out the other night and then made more to feed to my entire family for sunday supper at my parents. They are just unbelievably good. Everyone had nothing but good things to say. And all of that is wonderful but the bit I couldn’t believe is that my little brother (the pickiest person I know) not only tried them but said they were really good. I nearly fainted. Thanks much for the recipe! I’ll be using it again and again and again…

These are SOOOO good!

Maki - these tsukune are amazing!

I thought your chicken tsukune recipe was good, but these were beautiful! The texture turned out a lot softer than I thought, but maybe I didn’t squeeze all the water from the tofu properly. They also cook very quickly, so keep an eye on them!

After trying one hot, it was a real struggle to let the rest cool to put in the freezer. I could have eaten the lot!


These look great and simple…. plus you have several comments with happy results! I just bookmarked it to my “Recipe” folder, where I always go when I need something new to try. Thanks for the idea!

question from a vegetarian

(Sorry, making this for someone else but I'm not used to anything meat!) Is that amount of shrimp peeled or unpeeled?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.