My latest Japanese recipe for babies and toddlers is something that my husband or I make almost every week for dinner, typically on Sunday nights. These healthy and nutritious tofu and chicken patties are not only great for the whole family but also taste delicious! We like to serve this freshly cooked rice, a side salad or broccoli in a sesame seed sauce called gomaae (I’ll post the recipe for the broccoli shortly), and miso soup. The patties also freeze wonderfully so it’s excellent for meal-prepping for your child.
I originally found this recipe in a Japanese cookbook called 赤ちゃんごはん , which has a lot of family-friendly recipes, and adjusted it according to our tastes. I also added a savory-sweet honey and soy sauce that my daughter is obsessed with. I’m quite pleased with the modifications, as is my family, so I hope your little one and family will enjoy it, too!
This recipe is can be used for children 9 months and up, especially those who are in an “I hate meat!” phase as the tofu helps make the patties soft and not as meaty, but please omit the sauce if your child is under the age of one (especially if they haven’t tried honey yet!).
Japanese Tofu and Chicken Patties for Babies and Toddlers (and the Whole Family!)
This recipe is recommended for babies 9 months and up.
Yield: I’ve found that with the following portions, I’m able to make two adult-sized patties and nine toddler-sized ones. I give my toddler about three small patties and freeze the rest.
Prep Time: ~15 minutes
Cook Time: ~20 minutes
Total time: around 35 minutes
For the patties:
- ~150 grams of firm tofu (momen dofu/木綿豆腐)
- ~170-180 grams of chicken mince
- 25 grams of finely chopped leek (naga negi/長ネギ)
- 10 grams of freshly grated ginger (you can use ginger paste or おそし生しょうが as well)
- Salt (optional, we omit it)
For the sauce (omit for children under the age of 1):
- One tablespoon of honey
- One tablespoon of soy sauce
- Take the tofu out of the package and remove the excess moisture. I like to do this by placing the tofu on a cutting board, putting a piece of paper towel on top of the tofu, and then leaving something heavy on it, like a plate, for about five minutes.
- After removing the excess moisture from the tofu, mix the tofu and chicken mince in a bowl with the leek and ginger. You can add a pinch of salt as well if you like.
- Shape the mixture into patties. I like to make two adult-sized patties, so about the size of your hand, and then make small patties out of the remainder for our daughter. If the patties are not forming properly, that may mean there’s too much moisture in the tofu so sprinkle a bit of cornstarch into the mixture.
- Place the patties in a lightly oiled pan and cook for about five minutes on medium-low heat. Depending on the size of your patties, you may need to extend the cooking time for about a minute or two. I cook the patties in two batches, the small ones first and then the large ones, as all of them will not cook properly in the frying pan at once.
- When the bottom is a golden color, flip the patties and place a lid on the pan. Cook for another five minutes or so.
- [Omit this step your baby is younger than 1] While the patties are cooking, make the sauce by mixing the honey and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Yup, that’s it. How easy is that?
- If you’re cooking in two batches, remove the first batch of patties from the pan and start cooking the second batch.
- [Omit this step your baby is younger than 1] Once both batches are done, add the first batch of patties to the second to the frying pan and pour the sauce on top. Simmer on low heat for about a minute or until the sauce starts bubbling. Flip and you’re done!
If you’re interested in the rice ball mold to make the cute cat face (or other super cute onigiri molds) to complement your little one’s chicken patty, you can buy it here from Amazon Japan. (The price on Amazon is much less than what I paid in Tokyu Hands — this was a lesson for me to always check Amazon Japan first!)