tofu tsukune recipe japanese food cooking

What is Tsukune?

Tsukune (つくね) is a popular Japanese dish made from seasoned ground chicken or other poultry formed into small meatballs or cylindrical shapes. It is a type of yakitori, which refers to skewered and grilled meats often seasoned with a sweet and savory sauce.

The preparation of tsukune typically involves mixing ground chicken with various ingredients, which may include:

  1. Tare Sauce: A flavorful and slightly sweet soy-based sauce that is often used in Japanese grilling. It gives tsukune its distinct taste and caramelized glaze when grilled.
  2. Grated Onion or Vegetables: These are sometimes added to the ground chicken mixture to enhance the moisture and flavor of the meatballs.
  3. Seasonings: Common seasonings can include garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and sometimes other ingredients like sesame seeds or shiso leaves.

Once the mixture is well combined, the seasoned ground chicken is formed into small balls or shaped onto skewers. Traditionally, tsukune is cooked on a grill, such as a charcoal grill or an open-flame barbecue. It is basted with tare sauce while grilling, creating a glossy and delicious glaze.

Tsukune is a popular street food and can often be found at yakitori stalls, izakayas (Japanese pubs), and restaurants specializing in grilled dishes. It is typically served as an appetizer or part of a larger yakitori platter. The meatballs are enjoyed hot and can be served with additional tare sauce for dipping.

In addition to chicken, tsukune can also be made with other types of ground poultry, such as turkey or quail, for some delightful variations in flavor. The popularity of tsukune lies in its juicy, tender texture and the delectable combination of sweet and savory flavors from the tare sauce.

How to make Tofu Tsukune

Click on the thumbnail or to watch my cooking video.