This dish is packed with nutrients, and so easy to make. It’s also a great dish to enjoy with guests. Chicken meatballs have the very nice subtle shiso flavor and they become fluffy after cooked. I like adding a generous amount of coarsely grated daikon (I highly recommend you use Onioroshi daikon grater for the nice crunchy texture for grating daikon). They give both texture and more flavor to the dish.
For seasoning, I use both white tamari and soy sauce for more complex flavor (and also to keep the broth from becoming too dark), but you can use just soy sauce if you like. You can also adjust the seasoning with extra sea salt at the end. But, please remember, this dish is served with Sansho Ponzu Sauce, so the seasoning should be minimum.
Make sure to save enough broth, so you can enjoy the shime (finishing course) of soba noodles!
EquipmentClassic-style Donabe (medium-size, 2.5-qt/ 2,500 ml or larger)
(Tsukune – Chicken Meatballs)
- 1 lb (450 g) ground chicken (dark meat is preferred)
- 1 tablespoon katakuriko (potato starch)
- 3 tablespoons beaten egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 – 6 leaves shiso, thinly-sliced
- 5 cups (1,200 ml) water
- 4″ x 8″ (10 cm x 20 cm) dashi kombu (dry kelp)
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons white tamari (can substitute with soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 5 – 6 leaves napa cabagge, cut into strips
- 5 oz (150 g) shimeji mushrooms
- Some yuba (dried tofu skin) strips, optional
- 1 1/2 oz (50 g) carrot, sliced crosswise into 1/8″ (3 mm) thick
- 8 oz (240 g) grated daikon radish
- 3 oz (100 g) komatsuna leaves, chopped (can substitute with spinach)
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon fine sesame oil
- Sansho Ponzu, for serving
- Yuzu-kosho, for serving
(Shime – Finishing Course Suggestion)
- Soba noodles
- Nori (roasted seaweed), crumbled
- Thinly-sliced green onion
- Shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice powder)
- To make the chicken meatballs, mix all the ingredients, except the shiso, for the tsukune in a bowl. Knead until smooth and shiny. Add the shiso, and mix again. Cover with plastic and keep refrigerated until it’s ready to use.
- Combine the water and kombu in a donabe. Let the kombu soak for at least 20 minutes or longer.
- Set the donabe over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Remove the kombu. Add the sake, mirin, white tamari, and soy sauce.
- Add the napa cabbage, and bring the heat up to medium-high.
- Form the chicken meat balls (use bamboo tsukune maker for easy tsukune making and also for nice presentation, if you like) and add to the broth. Cover with lid, and simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the shimeji, yuba, and carrot, followed by the grated daikon to mound in the center.
- One the daikon is heated through, top the daikon with the chopped komatsuna, and drizzle some sesame oil.
- Serve into individual bowls at the table, and enjoy with Sansho Ponzu or yuzu-kosho.
- To make shime (finishing course), heat the remaining broth, and add some cooked soba noodles to heat through. Garnish with some crumbled nori and green onion. Serve into individual bowls, and enjoy with some shichimi togarashi, if you like.
Get the ingredients ready.
Add the tsukune (chicken meatballs).
More ingredients are added, then the grated daikon is added in the center.
Chopped komatsuna leaves are added and sesame oil is drizzled to finish.
Enjoy with the sansho ponzu or yuzu-kosho (or both!).
If you want to enjoy the shime (finishing course) of soba, make sure to save enough broth. With the smooth soba in the rich broth, the meal has a very nice ending.