Happy Donabe Life

Sesame and Saikyo Miso Hot Pot with Chicken Meatballs

Tsukune Goma Saikyo Nabe

This is an especially comforting donabe hot pot dish. Saikyo miso is a (naturally) sweet white miso, and the dashi based broth is flavored with sesame paste and Saikyo miso. Ginger-rich chicken tsukune (meatballs) are really fluffy and also adds depth to the broth. They are cooked along with different vegetables and just so satisfying. This is like a Japanese version of “chicken soup” to nourish your body and soul. 

Vegan option

Omit chicken or substitute with other vegetables. Use kombu and shiitake (vegan) dashi.


Classic-style Donabe (2.5-qt/ 2,500 ml or larger)


4 - 5


(For Tsukune – Chicken Meatballs)

  • 1 lb (450 g) ground chicken
  • 3 tablespoons beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon katakuriko (potato starch)
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely-grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon moshio sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper



  • 6 oz (180 g) kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 1/2” (1.2 cm) wedges
  • 1 tablespoon finely-shredded ginger
  • 7 oz (200 g) medium-firm tofu
  • 5 oz (150 g) shimeji mushrooms
  • 1 medium bok choy, quartered and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons ground roasted sesame seeds
  • Yuzu-kosho


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the Tsukune meat balls by hand in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for 30 min.
  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the broth in a bowl. Transfer to a donabe and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the kabocha, then form about 1.5” (3.5 cm)-diameter Tsukune and gently drop to the broth. Cover with lid and simmer for 4 – 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger, tofu shimeji and bottom part of the bok choy. Cover again and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
  5. Add the remaining bok choy and sprinkle the sesame seeds.
  6. Serve into individual bowls at a table with yuzu-kosho on the side.

Put all the ingredients for the tsukune (chicken meatballs) in a bowl and mix well.

Everything is ready to cook!


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