Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Meatballs that are crispy on the outside yet light and fluffy on the inside, with a nice crunchy texture. Smothered in a delectable sweet and sour sauce, what's not to like?

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
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)
  • 3/4-1 tsp salt
  • A pinch of pepper
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp potato starch
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • [Sweet and sour sauce]

    • 3-3 1/2 tbsp ketchup
    • 3-3 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 3 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 200 ml water
  • A small amount of sesame oil
  • Cilantro, as desired



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 cubed onions and mix briefly.


Add the onions raw and roughly chopped to give the meatballs a crunchy bite.


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 them into balls. Bring the oil for deep-frying to 180 °C, and drop in a few meatballs at a time. Deep-fry for about 3 minutes, or until their surfaces are evenly browned. Remove and drain the oil.


If you overcook the meatballs, they will become hard. Remove them as soon as they start to brown, and place them on a wire rack to let them finish cooking through using their residual heat. This will result in meatballs that are crunchy on the outside but still light and fluffy 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 the heat and pour a small amount of sesame oil over top. Serve garnished with cilantro as desired.