Quail Konbumaki

Quail Konbumaki

Sarah MickeyAll Poultry & Game Bird Recipes, All Recipes, Poultry Breast Recipes, Quail Recipes, Sea Vegetable Recipes

Quail Konbumaki

Konbumaki are little simmered bundles of tender konbu (often spelled “kombu”) kelp containing chicken or pork, along with vegetables.

Jade, who regularly assists in the test kitchen as well as customer service, created this recipe during a test kitchen session with our boneless quail breasts. Here’s what she had to say about its genesis:

“Konbumaki is a New Year’s dish, so I thought it’d fit in well with the holidays. It’s also a staple dish in Okazuya restaurants, which are my favorite breakfast when I’m back home in Hawaii. It’s visually stunning, but not too much work (especially with a lot of family members helping out!).

The small and consistent size of the quail breasts makes them a really easy substitute for rolled dishes like Konbumaki – they’re easy to cut to the size you need.” Jade

6-8 Appetizer or 3-4 Entrée Servings

Each bundle is tied with an edible cord called kanpyo, which is made of calabash gourd shavings. It’s sold dried in many Asian grocery stores or can be purchased online.

Jade says that when buying the konbu for this dish, it’s important to get “nishime” or “oden” konbu, rather than the konbu sold for making dashi broth (which is thicker & will rehydrate too tough for chewing).

  • 1 package Nishime/Oden Konbu Kelp
  • 20 Boneless Quail Breasts, thinly sliced
  • 2 Carrots, peeled & cut into matchsticks
  • 5 Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms, destemmed & thinly sliced
  • 1 Burdock Root (gobo in Japanese)
  • 1 package Kanpyo
  • Simmering Liquid
  • 2 cups Water, plus extra as needed
  • ½ cup Soy Sauce
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, smashed
  • 6 slices of Ginger, peeled
  • 1 tbsp Mirin (sweet rice wine)



Soak the konbu kelp and kanpyo cord in separate bowls of room temperature water until they become pliable (about 10-15 minutes).


Cut the konbu into 6” lengths.


Wash and peel the burdock root. Cut it in to matchsticks and submerge those in cool water to keep them from browning.
“Kobomaki can take two hours to braise if you’re using chicken thigh or pork, so I typically cut the burdock thicker, but quail breasts are much more delicate, so they’re going to cook for less time.”

– Jade


Take each length of konbu and put some of the carrot, shitake, quail breast, and burdock in the middle of it – with all the pieces parallel to each other.


Roll each konbu portion into a tube shape & tie it with a length of kanpyo.
“I like to leave the kanpyo strand whole, tie a bundle, then cut off the excess. I find it’s easier to handle than cutting & tying short lengths.”

– Jade


Put the konbu rolls in a single layer in a wide pot and fill it with enough water to cover them (about 2 cups).


Bring the water to a simmer, and cook them for 30 minutes, adding additional water as necessary to ensure they’re covered.
“Simmer in water first – if you simmer in soy the whole time it’ll be way too salty.”

– Jade


Add the remaining braising liquid ingredients and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.


Remove the konbu bundles from the liquid with tongs, cooking chopsticks, or a slotted spoon, then serve.