SummaryIn general term, Tsukune means "kneaded with hand". A number of thickener are added to ground material such as beef, pork or fowl meat, and rarely fish meat. The mixture is kneaded or ground, and is molded into dumpling or meat stick.
It also refers to fish meatball, which is added to hot soup and called Tsumire-jiru (つみれ汁), or fish ball soup. Tsukune is also enjoyed as Tsukune Nabe, a Japanese steamboat dish with numerous local varieties found in regions in Japan.
Traditionally. a fish fillet was ground using Suribachi (すり鉢（すりばち or 擂鉢) ) grinding-bowl in Japan, but blenders are used in most homes recently.
PreparationThickeners such as chicken egg, crushed yam or bread crumb, as well as seasonings including ground ginger root, salt or soy sauce are added after meat is mashed or minced finely. The mixture is shaped into dumplings and/or meat sticks.
To taste, finely chopped garden vegetables are mixed into the minced meat. Vegetables and herbs such as leek Negi (ねぎ), beefsteak plant Aojiso (青紫蘇) also called Oba (大葉), and at times, chopped cartilage of fowl tori nankotsu (鶏軟骨) may be added for crunchy taste.
Commonly, Tsukune is found in Oden (おでん or 田楽(でんがく)), a Japanese stew consisting of several ingredients in a light dashi (出汁（だし）) broth. There are regional varieties to both Oden and Tsumire-jiru.
Tsukune is not always prepared from farm animal meat only. Similarly, Tsumire (つみれ) is not all the time cocked with fish meat either. Tsukune is matched with Tsumire, and they may be called generally as gan (丸（がん）) meaning minced meat in round shape.
- boil: Nabe (鍋物), or a dish cooked at the table.
- broil: Yakimono (焼き物), broiled or char-broiled dishes, including barbecued meatball.
- fry: Agemono (揚げ物) or deep-fry.
- stew: Tsuyumono (汁物（つゆもの） or 団子汁（だんごじる）), or stewed with vegitable and herbs.