The Difference: Tsukune vs Tsumire dumplings
In Japanese, there are a number of similar food names that refer to similar things, and typical examples of such Japanese food names include “Unaju (うな重)” and “Unadon (うな丼)”, “Umezuke (梅漬け)” and “Umeboshi (梅干し)”, and “Tsukune (つくね)” and “Tsumire (つみれ)”.
If you are fairly well acquainted with Japanese cuisine, you may have heard of all the 6 Japanese foods, but what about the difference? For those who don’t know much about them, I wrote about the first 2 pairs before as the green links above show, so today I will explain the rest, how Tsukune is different from Tsumire.
Tsukune meatballs and Tsumire dumplings
As you might already know, Tsukune are meatballs typically made from finely minced chicken, while Tsumire are dumplings usually made from surimi fish paste from blue-backed fish such as sardine, horse mackerel, or saury.
However, Tsukune can also be made from fish paste, and in contrast, Tsumire dumplings are sometimes made from the chicken as well.
They both use thickeners and are kneaded into a dough, but are different in the way they are shaped, so the difference between Tsukune and Tsumire actually doesn’t come from the material.
The Meaning of Tsukune (つくね)
“つくね (Tsukune)” is written as “捏ね (Tsukune)” using Kanji Chinese characters which originally means “捏ねる (Koneru)” or kneading something by hand or some kitchen utensil and shaping like a ball. This is the way Tsukune is shaped.
The Meaning of Tsumire (つみれ)
On the other hand, the food “つみれ (Tsumire)” is also called “つみいれ (Tsumi-Ire)” whose origin derives from the word “摘み入れる (Tsumi-Ireru)” meaning picking (taking) something up (by hand or using a spoon or the like) and putting in (into a Nabemono hot-pot or the like). This is the way Tsumire is prepared.