Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

A meatball that is crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. The onion gives it a light, crunchy texture.

Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Photographed by Akio Takeuchi

Recipe by
Harumi Kurihara







Calorie count is per serving

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 400 g ground meat (mixed beef and pork)

    Aim for a 3:1 ratio of pork to beef (300 g pork and 100 g beef).

  • 1/2 onion (100 g)
  • 1 egg (small)
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper, a pinch
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp potato starch
  • [Sweet and sour sauce]

    • 3 to 3 1/2 tbsp tomato ketchup
    • 3 to 3 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 3 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 200 ml water
  • Cilantro, as needed
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Sesame oil, a small amount



Chop the onion into 3 to 4 mm cubes. In a bowl, combine the ground meat, egg, 3/4-1 tsp of salt, and a pinch of pepper, then mix together until sticky. Add 1 tbsp of flour and continue to mix, then add the onion and mix briefly.


Adding the onion raw, chopped into slightly larger pieces than usual will give the finished result a more interesting texture.


Dissolve 1 tbsp of potato starch in an equal amount of water.


Oil your hands lightly with vegetable oil (not included in the quantity listed in the ingredients list) and divide the ground meat mixture into 12-15 equal portions and roll into balls. Bring oil for deep-frying to 180 °C, then add a few meatballs at a time. Deep-fry for about 3 min or until their surfaces are evenly browned, then remove and drain the oil.


If you overcook the meatballs, they will become hard, so remove them once they start to brown. Place them on a wire rack and let them finish cooking through using their residual heat, for meatballs that are crunchy on the outside but still light and tender on the inside.


Combine the ingredients for the [sweet and sour sauce] in a deep frying pan or a pot, and cook over high heat. When it comes to a simmer, add the potato starch dissolved in water and stir to thicken. Add the meatballs and stir to coat, then remove from heat and pour a small amount of sesame oil over top. Serve garnished with cilantro as desired.