Japan – Tsukune

by Zayna Khan

This is a non-veg dish that is actually chicken, lamb, beef, or seafood meatballs. This meat is seasoned and then topped with sweet and sour soy sauce. These are known as Japanese meatballs or Tsukune. You can add different sauces to be served with this dish like Yakitori sauce, Teriyaki sauce, sweet soya sauce, etc. There are different techniques used in making this amazing dish as you can either deep-fried these meatballs, bake these balls, grill them as personal preferences. You can also change the shape of the meat by elongating them or just stick to the ball shape. skewers are used to arrange them over it.


Yakitori is the Japanese style of cooking skewered chicken. This is a special technique of grilling over charcoal. This is a technique in which vegetarian or non-vegetarian material marinate first with the suitable ingredients and then arrange them over the skewers to grill it over the hot burning charcoal.

BINCHOTAN or white charcoal is usually used for cooking purposes in Japan.

There are special Yakitori restaurants in Japan that use to cook all their dishes by this technique and this dish, Tsukune is also said to be as Yakitori dish. Because the traditional way to cook Tsukune is Yakitori charcoal grilling.



Boiling is the technique in which this dish can be cooked with having a healthy diet in mind. We can mix the spices into the meat and then boil them until they cooked. Serve it with the preferable sauce and enjoy. It is said ”NABEMONO” means cooking on table.


Frying is the technique in which we do the same thing like marinate the chicken and then make balls of it. Take a cooking pot of oil and just deep fry them until nicely colored appeared and the meat is tendered enough. In Japanese, this technique is called as ”AGEMONO


This technique is supposed to be used instead of ”BARBECUE”. ”YAKIMONO”, means broil, charcoal broiled or smoked to give burnt flavors. This technique is known in Japan as YAKIMONO.


Stew is like to cook in some broth of meat or vegetables. This is known as ”TSUYUMONO


Roasting is the technique of dry heating in which oven is used to cook it by applying the direct heat over it.


These are the metal or wooden sticks to hold the marinated pieces while cooking. This is used while roasting, baking grilling the meat to hold individual pieces of chicken, meat, or vegetables. It is a type of utensil. In this dish, meatballs are arranged over these Kushi and then cooked on burning charcoal. There are different types of sticks used in cooking like some are wooden, metal, etc.


There are few sauce that goes well with this dish are the following :


Teriyaki is a technique in which grilled food is tossed/ cooked with the sauce and sauce used in that technique is used to be said as teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce is the sweet and sour sauce of soya sauce, pineapple juice, some sesame seeds, garlic, brown sugar, etc. It is either served as the dipping sauce with grilled chicken or meat etc. Or it can toss the sauce with cooked meat until they get stick to it. This is the way to presenting the dish either sauce-coated meatballs or meatballs served with dipping sauce.


Sweet soya sauce goes well with the grilled meat especially when coat it with the sauce. It is technique in which meat is first grilled and than toss with sauce so it covered all the meat and gives very juicy and smooth texture to the dish.


Yakitori tare is like a Japanese sweet soya sauce which is used in many dishes like this tsukune meat balls.


For the preparation of the dish, we have to select the meat than the cooking technique. We can use any meat for cooking this Tsukune but traditionally chicken is used to make ”grilled Japanese meatballs”. And the traditional cooking technique is grilling over charcoal. Now there are many structural elements to be added to the meat to make it firm and solid but still juicy from the inside.

Meat varieties are

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Mutton
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Fowl, etc

Thickners to be added into the meat are

  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Bread
  • Boiled Potato
  • Gram flours
  • Bread crumbs

They are used in that way so the moisture of the meat is went off and by adding they still gets the moisture lock for juiciness.


  • Chicken mince = 800 grams
  • Bread crumbs = 1 cup
  • Eggs = 2
  • Salt = 1 teaspoon
  • Scallions = 2 tablespoons
  • Mirin = 2 tablespoons
  • Sake = 2 tablespoons
  • Shiso leaves = 8
  • sesame seeds = 1 tablespoons


  • First of all take half of the chicken mince and add into the cooking pot, turn on the flame and start cooking.
  • Cook mince on low flame release the moisture of the chicken and cook until the moisture evaporates.
  • On the other side, take uncooked meat add bread crumbs, eggs, scallions, mirin, sake, shiso leaves and sesame seeds.
  • Mix them together, now add cooked meat into uncooked mixture and assemble them together.
  • Now its time to let it cool down and start shaping them.
  • Take a small ball of chicken and put it on the skewers. Add some sesame seeds on the top of the meat balls.
  • Burn the coal and start cooking it with each side until meat is cooked properly and brown over the outer side.
  • Japanese meat balls are ready to serve with soya sauce.
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