Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

When you make meatballs at home, using less egg and cornstarch is the key to enjoying the taste of the meat.

Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Photographed by Takeshi Noguchi

Recipe by
Masako Kono






Calorie count is per serving

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 250 g ground pork
  • [A]

    • 1/4 naga-negi long onion (finely chopped)
    • 1/2 beaten egg
    • 1 tbsp potato starch
    • 2 tsp sake
    • 2 tsp water
    • 1 tsp ginger juice
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • Salt, a pinch
    • Pepper, a pinch
  • [Sweet and sour sauce]

    • 70 ml water
    • granulated Chinese-style chicken stock, a small amount
    • 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 1/2 tbsp sake
    • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 tbsp potato starch
    • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Cilantro, as needed

    If available.

  • Vegetable oil



Place the ground pork in a bowl and knead by hand. Kneading the ground pork by itself first will give the meatballs a smoother texture.


When the pork becomes sticky, add the ingredients for [A] and continue to knead until even stickier.


Flatten out the surface of the ground pork mixture and divide it into 10 even portions. Lightly oil your hands with vegetable oil and roll each portion into a ball.


Fill a frying pan with enough vegetable oil to make a layer 2.5 cm deep and heat it to 170 °C. Carefully add the meatballs one by one by hand, and fry for about 4 min.


An easy way to check if the oil is at about 170 °C: Dampen and wipe dry a pair of cooking chopsticks, then dip them into the oil. If a steady stream of small bubbles forms at the tips, the oil is at about 170 °C.


Rotate the meatballs occasionally while they fry, once the outsides set. Before removing the meatballs, raise the heat to high and fry for about 20 sec to make the outsides of the meatballs crunchy. When they become golden brown, remove the meatballs and drain off the excess oil.


In a small frying pan, combine all of the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce except the sesame oil, and heat over medium heat, stirring continuously. When the sauce turns clear and thickens, stir in the sesame oil.


Add the fried meatballs to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve garnished with cilantro.