Tsukune Miso Nabe (Chicken-Meatball Hot Pot in Miso Broth)
Naoko Takei Moore makes this comforting hot pot of ginger-spiked meatballs, mushrooms and tofu in a donabe, or Japanese clay pot. She sells them at Toiro, her Japanese cookware shop in Los Angeles, and has written a book on the topic, “Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking” (Ten Speed Press, 2015). The traditional cookware can be used to cook rice, steam foods and even set up to work like a small grill. It’s a wonderful, versatile piece of equipment, though if you don’t have one, you can use another heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, and still turn out a beautiful meal. Have this hot pot on its own, or with a side of warm rice.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1pound ground chicken
- 2scallion greens, thinly sliced
- 1tablespoon grated ginger
- 1tablespoon white miso
- 1tablespoon potato starch
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1quart dashi
- 2tablespoons mirin
- 3teaspoons white tamari, or soy sauce
- ¼cup white miso
- 8ounces mixed mushrooms, such as shimeji, maitake and enoki, sliced or torn roughly into bite-size pieces
- 14ounces soft or medium-firm tofu, cut or scooped out into about 8 pieces
- 4ounces spinach, pea shoots, rapini or other tender greens, cut into bite-size lengths
- 1tablespoon roasted white sesame seeds
- Ground yuzu shichimi togarashi, to taste
Step 1Prepare the meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs, and knead with your hands until the mix is smooth and shiny. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to shape and cook.
Step 2Prepare the hot pot: Place a large donabe, Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring the dashi to a simmer. Add the mirin and tamari. Whisk in miso. (You can put the miso in a strainer and hold it directly in the broth as you whisk, so it dissolves smoothly.)
Step 3With wet hands, shape the chicken mixture into tablespoon-size balls to make about 30 meatballs, then drop them into the simmering broth. Add the mushrooms and tofu. (If using very delicate tofu, wait and add it with the greens.)
Step 4Bring the broth back up to a simmer, turn the heat down to low, and cover. Simmer gently until all the ingredients are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Step 5Add the greens, and cover for 1 more minute, then serve with sesame and togarashi.