Sweet Ginger Meatballs

Sweet Ginger Meatballs

Here is a traditional Japanese-Western dish. Meatballs may not sound Japanese but it’s all about the sauce. Try these for a different angle on meatballs. By Reiko Hashimoto, Cook Japan Stay Slim Live Longer, Bloomsbury Publishing

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  • Serves4
  • Preparation Time20 mins
  • Cooking Time20 mins


  • 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 250g minced beef
  • 250g minced pork
  • 20g grated ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour, plus extra for dusting
  • vegetable, sunflower or corn oil, for shallow frying
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • salt and ground white pepper

For the sweet ginger sauce

  • 30g grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce
  • 125ml dashi stock (page 28) or 1 teaspoon instant dashi powder mixed with water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour


Put the chopped spring onions (reserve a handful of the green part for the garnish) in a bowl with the beef and pork mince, grated ginger, egg, sesame oil and pinch of salt and white pepper. Start adding the cornflour, little by little, kneading the mixture well for a few minutes until doughy and elastic.

Scoop portions of the meat mixture with a teaspoon to make bite-sized balls. Make sure all the meatballs are the same size to ensure consistent cooking times. Dust them lightly in cornflour.

Pour enough oil to come up to about 1cm deep in a large frying pan and set over medium heat. Once the oil reaches about 160°C/320°F, drop the meatballs carefully into the pan. Shallow-fry them by turning them in the oil until they are just cooked, 3–4 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs. Alternatively, for a healthier option, bake the meatballs with a drizzle of oil in an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 12–15 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, squeeze the juice from the grated ginger into a small bowl along with the other ingredients for the sauce and mix well until there are no lumps.

Heat a large frying pan and add the cooked meatballs. Once the pan becomes very hot, pour in the sauce mixture, shake the pan from side to side to coat the meatballs well and let the sauce thicken, about 1 minute. Transfer to large shallow bowls, sprinkle with the finely chopped spring onion greens and finish with the toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on the top.

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