Chicken Tsukune (meatballs) for Shabu Shabu (Hot Pot)

Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Blog, Chicken, Family Favorites, Meat & Poultry | 4 comments

Chicken Tsukune Shabu Shabu

I’m not sure how many months have gone by since I posted anything on my blog. Ok, maybe it’s only been a few weeks and/or approaching one month since my absence, but it certainly seems longer. Honestly, I’m not even sure how I used to post at least three new posts per week. I look back now and think I was crazy. :) Either that, or I was getting much less sleep than I’m getting now.

Nothing special has happened over the past month to warrant my absence. Bebe fought one cold and has another sore throat today. We’ve been spending a bit more time having picnics after school with her pre-school buddies and enjoying more play dates at the park. On park days where we experienced warmer weather, on the verge of what I call hot (I have a low tolerance for hot weather), a nap was often in order, not just for the kiddo, but also for this Mama. I shared this info with my Mom who promptly reminded me that it was because I’m getting old that I get tired after spending time in the sun.

Thanks for the reminder, Mom.

I’ve also shared with my Mom that it’s nearly impossible to clean the house because as soon as everything is put-away in it’s rightful place, after 10 minutes of the Bebe tornado, the place looks just as messy as it did before I spent an hour cleaning, if not messier. Clearly, the Cleaning Fairy isn’t doing a very good job. Oh, and my Mom says, “It was the same with you and your brother, but I cleaned-up daily.” Ok, thanks for the tip Mom.

As for our family’s Cleaning Fairy, she used to visit us every night with good deeds of picking up the toys that weren’t put away and taking them away to give to children who didn’t have as many toys as Bebe. This was good motivation for our little one to pick-up her toys at the end of each day, but the Cleaning Fairy stopped visiting as often when Bebe seemed afraid that this Fairy was going to break into our home and take things away. In hindsight, I suppose the Cleaning Fairy could potentially be scary to a 3 -year old.

Even though I haven’t posted anything recently on my blog, I’ve still been taking an occasional picture here and there. Thank goodness, because last week I made Shabu-shabu, or hot pot, and given our wacky SoCal weather with dreary cold skies and sprinkles, shabu-shabu doesn’t seem too out of season. Hot pot isn’t just for cold winter nights as it is in Japan. I’ve been known to break Japanese etiquette and serve shabu-shabu (post and recipe here) during the Spring and Summer seasons, if only to satisfy a simple craving.

I had forgotten about chicken tsukune (meatballs) when I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to eat shabu. I quickly gave up on the idea since we didn’t have enough meat and I wasn’t in the mood to make a run to the Japanese supermarket for thin-cut shabu meat. That’s when my husband graciously reminded me that we had ground chicken in the freezer and that we hadn’t had  tsukune meatballs in a while.

My Mom often added tsukune to our shabu-shabu and it always added nice variety to our hot pot. It’s also really simple to make and only requires three ingredients: ground chicken, grated ginger, and corn or potato starch.

To learn more about Japanese shabu-shabu hot pot, follow this link.

Oh, and don’t worry about the pink-ish looking semi-raw chicken tsukune in the photograph above . . . I was just getting started, although in hindsight a photograph of the fully cooked tsukune might have been a bit more appropriate. Oh well! Sometimes ya just gotta ‘roll with it’.

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Chicken Tsukune (meatballs) for Shabu Shabu (Hot Pot)
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 4
  • ¾ pound ground chicken breast
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger (add more for a kick)
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch (or corn starch)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken and ginger.
  2. Sprinkle potato starch over the meat mixture. Gently knead with hand until well-incorporated.
  3. Make 1 tablespoon round balls and drop them into boiling hot water. Cook for 10 minutes until well-done.



  1. avatar

    That cracks me up about The Cleaning Fairy! And yes, I could see how she/he could be scary to a 3-year old. lol

    Your shabu shabu looks amazing. I have never made it for my family before. My excuse is that I don’t have a proper pot (I used to many years ago). Do you think it would work in a regular pot? It looks SOOO good on your blog! It is still kind of cold here, so it would be perfect also!

    • avatar

      Hi there! Absolutely you can use a regular pot for shabu-shabu. Before I bought my sukiyaki pan I used to make that in a standard pot all the time. Just make sure your pot is deep enough when you make your shabu! A must, however, is a portable tabletop stove/burner for getting that “shabu-shabu” feeling whilst eating straight from the pot at your dining table. :)

  2. avatar

    What are those cool-looking rod brown things in this shabu shabu?

    • avatar

      The brown fishcakes with the white inside and hole in the center are called “chikuwa” in Japanese. They are made of fish and are just one of many types of fishcakes available in Japanese cuisine. They’re delicious! :)


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