Simmered Chicken and Miso Meatballs
japanese chicken meatball nabe_6067
A sunny sky in winter in Southeast Michigan means cold, and brings cravings for warmth and comfort. This Japanese nabemono meal is a satisfying chicken soup served with a bit of fun while evoking fantasies of far away places at our familiar dining room table.We set up the hot plate for the hot-pot, and the computer to play an episode of Rosemary & Thyme on Netflix, had some nice wine, and enjoyed the evening. The English gardens are gorgeous, but I wonder who would hire those ladies to work in their masterful gardens? All the devious deaths and killings, beyond the usual weed-pulling, culling, and digging up a normal garden entails!This recipe is adapted from a book I got for my birthday last year: Japanese Farm Food. It’s a beautifully constructed hardcover book with a lovely blue and white printed fabric covering the spine. It smells of fresh ink and fine paper bringing good memories to me of my time working for a printer. It’s a readable biographical cookbook, and a pleasure to hold.This particular recipe is interesting because Ms. Hachisu includes miso in her recipe for the meatballs. When they are uncooked, they do look very red and very shiny-smooth. The clever part to making these meatballs is that you toss them from hand to hand. Chicken (and pork and even beef) get very sticky-slimy-smooth when treated so roughly, thus providing a firm cooking surface. The same technique is also used when making hambagu and it works very well!

Simmered Chicken and Miso Meatballs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chikin Mito Boru

adapted from Japanese Farm Food
Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC
ISBN: 978-1-4494-1829-8


  • 1 (3 by 6-inch) piece of kombu, soaked in 1½ cups water
  • 3 small dried shiitake, soaked in 1½ cups water
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 Tablespoons miso—I used half sweet white miso, half brown miso
  • 3 thin negi or 6 fat green onions


  • 1 pound coarse–ground or hand chopped chicken thigh
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 Tablespoons brown rice miso
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon potato starch


  • I used a good-sized bunch of shingiku (tung ho)
    rather than ¼ small head of napa cabbage (⅔ pound)
  • 2 carrot very thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • cooked rice
  • or noodles

Add the kombu and shiitake with their soaking liquids to a pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the onions. Dissolve the miso with a strainer and whisk so as not to leave lumps in the broth. Simmer for about 7 minutes. Remove the kombu and shiitake. Reserve for another use. Keep the stock warm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, green onions, miso, ginger, and potato starch. Mix well with your hands.
Make 12 meatballs (slightly smaller than 2-inches in diameter), tossing the meat between your palms. The surface of the meatballs will become slick and glossy. Chill well.

Bring 3 cups water to a boil. Drop as many meatballs as can comfortably fit in your pot. When the meatballs rise to the top, after about 6 minutes, check if they are done. Gently pressing on a meatball you’ll feel a bit of give. Do not cook them until they are hard. Set aside. By parboiling the meatballs, your hot-pot stock will be crystal clear. Strain the stock into the kombu/mushroom pot.

Clean the shingiku and pull the tender leaves from the tough stems. Blanch the sliced carrots. Arrange on a platter with the chicken meatballs.

Put all of the stock into a donabe which you can heat at table. Bring the platter of meat and vegetables to the table with serving chopsticks. Don’t forget the sliced green onions for garnish.

Guests drop meatballs, shingiku, and carrots into the simmering broth. Use chopsticks or tongs to remove from the hot pot to serving bowls. Garnish with green onion slices.

When all the vegetables and meatballs have been eaten, add Chinese noodles to the simmering broth. Cook al dente, and serve the noodles with broth to finish the meal.

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Everyone loves meatballs! burgers, patties, dumplings made with chicken, beef, pork, lamb, squid, or shrimp…
Click a pic above for other recipes!

2 thoughts on “Simmered Chicken and Miso Meatballs

  1. Happy New Year, Tess and Mr Tess and cat folk. Hope the year of the horse is a fine one for you both! These little miso meatballs are delicious aren’t they! I have this book too. So beautifully photographed and I loved reading about her school.

    • Carolyn! Happy New Year to you and yours! Glad to hear that you are enjoying this book as well! It’s a beautifully designed book, and a very romantic adventure story. This is the first recipe I’ve made and it’s a genuine winner—I can see serving these meatballs in a variety of ways.

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