Tofu-Chia-Quinoa Burgers



Ever since I moved to Japan in 2013, I've made it a habit to go for long walks in supermarkets to familiarize myself with the products here. Well, until my husband and I moved in to a slightly bigger apartment that's located in the middle of rice fields.

Now that we're living in a small rural town with just one supermarket nearby (and one convenience store that closes from 12mn to 5am), I started using the train more and more. My hobby became train station hopping (yes, some train stations have so many stores inside). I would ride the train for 2-5 hours, changing trains in between, looking for a good train station but never going out. On the way back, I'll go outside the station before my home station and enter again then finally go out of our station so that I pay only the minimum train fee. I spend ¥300 transportation fee for my 2-5 hours of train station hopping.

When I finally landed on a teaching job (three hours away by train, back and forth, Monday to Friday), train station hopping instantly lost its spark. All I could picture in my head when I think about trains was waking up early in the morning to catch it and the rush hour that I had to battle everyday. Luckily, I had already found my favorite train station by then.

Up until I was pregnant, I would go to my favorite train station for leisurely walks to maintain my pregnancy weight (but then buy one giant cookie to reward myself for the good exercise, but just one, hehe). Now you might be wondering what's so special in that train station: it's the imported goods shop. Yay!

I love buying local but now that I live in a foreign land (that's becoming less and less foreign to me), it has become a necessity for me to check out goods to either appease my homesickness or expand my culinary vocabulary.

Also, when I got pregnant, my husband made sure I had all the nutritious food we can buy here. One of those is chia seeds (imported from Mexico).

And recently, I finally mustered the courage to try quinoa. I had never tasted it and I was very afraid to buy it, then end up eating failure and suffering. Hahaha. Yes, because I wouldn't throw it if it's edible (even if it's not very palatable) because that's like food murder. And that's how I respect the hard work of my husband for earning for the family and supporting my sometimes luxurious food blog needs. Haha!

So I summoned the help of Beginner's Luck for use on my most recent find at the imported goods store. I paired it with chia seeds too (which I have been consistently buying at the same store) and turn it into Super Burgers.

My husband liked it very much that he even asked me to put some mini burgers in his bento (he usually only eats fried stuff right after frying). Well, I wasn't so surprised because I played it safe with the recipe and fried it and didn't put too much flour and cornstarch. I also freeze-thawed my tofu for a perfect texture (my husband is extremely particular with textures of food).



My 10-month-old also seemed to be excited about my tofu-quinoa-chia burgers (read the comics I was able to put up after a few minutes of photo-shooting her). I didn't let her have it yet because we follow no-salt-no-sugar-before-one diet, but I'm looking forward to making a version for her after I have done enough research. For now, here is the grown up's recipe!


  • tofu

  • steamed quinoa

  • chia seeds

  • mushroom powder

  • kombu powder

  • black pepper

  • soy sauce

  • egg (or powdered chia seeds)

  • flour

  • cornstarch


  1. Freeze firm tofu for at least one hour. Thaw it and squeeze off as much water as you can. Put it in a bowl.

  2. Add all the other ingredients in the bowl with tofu and mix well. Mold the mixture according to desired size of burger patties (or nuggets).

  3. Deep fry the molded mixture in a fry pan.

  4. Serve with salad vegetables, cheeses, ketchup and rice or bread. 




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