pork tsukune meatball

Pork Tsukune Meatballs with Miso Flavoured Sauce

At yakitori eateries, tsukune, minced chicken meatballs on skewers, is one of the popular choices. Here I created a tsukune style meatball recipe with pork mince, as it’s easier to find pork mince in the UK.

For the sauce, I used miso, a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented soy beans, which goes really well with pork. You can find a jar of miso at major supermarkets and grocery chains nowadays. This sauce gives an umami packed flavour to the tsukune meatballs.

Why not skewer cooked tsukune meatballs in Japanese yakitori style for your party? They are still delicious even when they have cooled down, which makes fancy finger food at parties as well as a great side dish for a bento box.

obento with pork tsukune

[cooked-recipe id=”716″]


  1. It’s important to mix the mixture for the tsukune meatballs by hand very well until it feels sticky and becomes slightly pale in colour.
  2. There are several types of miso on shelves, but you can use any type for this recipe.
  3. Check whether the tsukune meatballs are cooked by poking one of them with a skewer. When the juice runs clear, it’s cooked.
  4. Toasted sesame seeds are called iri goma, and a popular garnish in Japan. Sesame seeds taste and smell better when toasted, and gives an extra richness and flavour to dishes. You can use them for a variety of Japanese dishes as a garnish.

Topic: What’s Tsukune?

The word tsukune derives from an old Japanese word ‘tsukune-ru’, which means ‘to knead’.  Now you know why it’s important to mix the mixture very well. Tsukune is made from minced meat and usually shaped into a ball or a baton. Chicken mince is most used for tsukune, however pork mince tsukune is equally popular.

Tsukune is loved by all age groups because it’s soft and juicy, therefore easy to eat from children to the elderly. It’s also versatile to cook, as you can mix other ingredients including herbs and spices, or even soft bones to enjoy a crunch.

Tsukune is often served in izakaya where people can enjoy a variety of food each in a small quantity with drinks, just like Spanish tapas. Each izakaya has their own tsukune dish using different parts of the meat and original recipes. You’ll be asked if you want to eat tsukune with tare or shio in izakaya. Tare is a sweet and savoury sauce similar to teriyaki sauce, and shio means simply just salt. You might think seasoning with only salt is boring, but actually some tsukune recipes taste better with just salt. Furthermore, in recent Japan, many salt products from various areas are available. For instance, a salt shop in Tokyo sells 400 varieties of salt from Japan and overseas, and a profession called salt meisters are on the rise.


Miso Flavoured Pork Dumplings

Shu Mai is traditional Chinese steamed dumplings which is popular in Japan as well. You can find them in Dim sum menus. They need a special wrapper, however, I’ll show you how to make them without the wrappers. You should be able to find most of the ingredients easily.

Here, I use Miso paste, a Japanese seasoning made from soybeans, which goes really well with pork.

They are actually very easy to make and delicious even when they become cold. Great for a lunch box. Why not serve them with cocktail sticks at your party? Please have a look at the video at the end of this post which shows you step-by-step cooking method of this recipe.

Ingredients for 8 to 10 dumplings
200g Minced Pork
50g Spring Onions/Salad Onions (chopped)
Potato Starch
2-3 leaves of Chinese lettuce/Cabbage

For seasoning
1 ½ tbs Miso Paste
1 tbs Water


1. Mix Miso paste and water to make the seasoning
2. Place the pork mince and the chopped spring onion or salad onion in a bowl.
3. Add the seasoning to the bowl and knead very well by hand until the mixture becomes sticky.
4. Make 8 to 10 balls from the mixture.
5. Place the potato starch in a clean bowl, and then, coat the pork balls evenly.
6. Spread the Chinese Lettuce or Cabbage leaves in a steamer to prevent the balls from sticking to the base. When they become tender, place the pork balls and steam them for another 7 to 8 minutes.
7. Arrange them on a serving plate.

Knead thoroughly by hand until the mixture becomes sticky. This makes cooking easier and eliminates any odour.