Tsukune is a type of “chicken meatballs” skewered and charcoal grilled usually served on yakitori establishments. Commonly this Japanese dish in its basic form consists minced chicken meat, minced onions, eggs and seasonings from here additional ingredients can be added like mashed yam, lotus roots, shiso leaves or chicken cartilage. Just before serving tsukune is usually seasoned with “tare” a caramelized sauce with a sweet and savoury flavour which gives it that delicious touch. Other versions also requires a quick dip in a raw egg wash before consuming.

Tsukune Wide

Today tsukune is usually made out of chicken but traditionally fish was also used, usually fish fillets are ground using a Suribachi, a Japanese version of mortar and pestle then formed into balls that resemble the Tsukune we have today. Though the most popular way of serving this was on skewers it can also be used in other dishes like Tsumire-jiru, Tsukune Nabe (type of steamboat), or in Oden.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 700g minced chicken thighs
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 stalks spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup sake
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cane vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 stalks spring onions, roughly chopped
  • ½ thumbs sized ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  1. In a saucepan combine all tare ingredients, bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes or until sauce becomes thick. Remove from heat, strain using a fine mesh sieve then set it aside.
  2. Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Prepare bamboo skewers by pre-soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes. Make your meatballs, then place them in a skewer, set it aside and do it with the remaining meatballs.
  4. Place in a charcoal grill and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side. Brush with tare sauce and cook for one more minute on each side.
  5. Remove from the gill then serve while hot.


Tsukune 2


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