Mom’s Shrimp Ball

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 Deep Fried Shrimp Ball | Easy Japanese Recipes at

While my mom was visiting from Japan during Christmas and New Years, we got to cook together a couple of times.  I invited her to be my guest chef so all I needed to do is to take pictures while she’s cooking.  If you are a food blogger who takes step-by-step pictures of cooking for every recipe, like Manu of Manu’s Menu, you know how hectic and time consuming it is having to wash hands after each step in order to take pictures.  I thought this was going to be an easy post for me since I can focus on photography.

 Deep Fried Shrimp Ball | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Unfortunately, I feel like I didn’t do a great job as a photographer for this post’s step-by-step.  The lighting was not optimal since it was late in the afternoon and already getting dark.  We also got distracted during the cooking process by talking way too much about various subjects.  In addition, my mom wasn’t happy when I made her measure the “precise” amount for each of the ingredients and made her pause her motion at each step of the process so I could snap pictures.  So I apologize in advance for my step-by-step pictures being blurry today.  I didn’t double check my work while taking pictures quickly and ended up with poor results.

Despite imperfect pictures, Mom’s Shrimp Ball tasted amazing.  Very simple ingredients yet it was so flavorful and delicious.  She was planning to make her signature shrimp ball using bread cubes, but we didn’t have the right kind of bread at the time so we substituted with regular Panko.  The original plan was to make the outer shell just like how Cooking Gallery and  Adora’s Box made theirs.  Aren’t they cute with these tiny bread cubes all around the shrimp ball?  My mom will be back one day and I’ll definitely ask her to make her signature shrimp ball properly next time so I can feature this dish again.

My children enjoyed these shrimp balls a lot.  If you are serving for just two, you can cut down the portion in half so you don’t have to cook so many shrimp balls like we did…and this was actually just one of our main dishes.  I will be sharing other mom’s recipes in coming weeks.  Have a great weekend!

 Deep Fried Shrimp Ball | Easy Japanese Recipes at

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Mom’s Shrimp Ball
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 40 Shrimp Balls
  • 1 medium (13 oz/ 380g) onion
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1.4 lb (650g) black tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1.5-2 inch ginger
  • 3 green onion
  • 2 eggs, separate into egg whites and yolks
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5 – 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp. Sesame oil
  • 1 Cup Panko
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Ketchup
  • Salt & white ground pepper
  1. Mince onion. In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat and sauté onion until translucent. Transfer to a plate/bowl and let it cool.
  2. Meanwhile put prawns in a large bowl and sprinkle corn starch. Rub them with hand and rinse in cold water. This is the best way to clean the shrimp/prawns. Drain well and set aside in a sieve.
  3. Grind ginger and keep the juice as well.
  4. Cut a prawn into 3-4 pieces and then pound it with a meat pounder or knife.
  5. Chop green onions and whisk the egg whites until fluffy.
  6. Combine shrimp, onion, green onion, ginger, ginger juice and salt, and pepper and mix well. Then add half of egg whites and corn starch. If the mixture is too runny, do not add any more egg whites. Otherwise use it all and adjust the consistency by adding more corn starch. Lastly add egg yolk and mix all together. The consistency should be fluffy but you need to be able to form a ball (but don't make it too hard).
  7. Oil the plate with sesame oil and make about 1 Tbsp size ball shape.
  8. Dredge in Panko. Instead of hands, it’s easier to use two forks or spoons, so it doesn’t stick to your hands. Try not to fold Panko inside the ball, and just apply it around the ball.
  9. Deep fry about 4-5 pieces at a time so the oil temperature won’t drop too quickly. When golden brown, take them out to a paper towel to drain extra oil. Serve with Ketchup and salt & white ground pepper.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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  1. These shrimp balls look succulent! I can’t wait to try them. It’s always nice to have Mom in the kitchen. :) It’s wonderful to catch up and have fun cooking together. I look forward to seeing more of your Mom’s recipes. (By the way, I know my Mom won’t be too happy if I make her measure each ingredient too! hahaha…)

  2. Why are you apologizing, Nami? The photos are great and hat off to you for doing such a great job while chattering away to your Mum at the same time. We feel we’re joining in the kitchen natter with you! These shrimp balls look fantastic!

  3. Hi Nami, that first picture looks great, and makes me want to eat those delicious fried snacks this Super Bowl Sunday. Never-mind the quality of the step-by-step images – that’s just for instruction. I think we can all appreciate the hard work you do to provide all those extra images to help us with the recipe.

    You definitely had Reese laughing with this comment – “In addition, my mom wasn’t happy when I made her measure the ‘precise’ amount for each of the ingredients and made her pause her motion at each step of the process so I could snap pictures.” She has the same struggle with her mom.

  4. These succulent shrimp balls looks absolutely divine! My Mom won’t be too happy if I ask her to measure each ingredient. She said I should have the liberty to “wing” every recipe I cook and not be afraid of the results. LOL! Btw, thanks for the step by step photo tutorial. You don’t have have to apologize with the way they turned out, they’re great. :)

  5. my mouth is watering reading this post! what perfect shrimp balls – obviously you got your cooking talent from your mum! hope she will return soon with more recipes 😀 (btw, I can see why your mum wasnt happy when she had to pause to measure each ingredient precisely…im like that with cooking too…but desserts/baking is a diff story!)

    ohh and nami, i’m not getting married – my sister is which is why im in need of a purple dress 😛

  6. Those are wonderful photos! And thank you to your mom for sharing this wonderful recipe. Truly, it sounds absolutely delicious. I adore shrimp any way I can get it!

  7. These shrimp balls looks out of this world good!! I totally understand what you are saying about step by step photography… it’s a pain sometimes when you have to wash your hands to get that picture. I understand about measuring too… I never measured before I started the blog and it’s hard to get used to. How cool you and Mom cooked together. My mother and I do “cook days” ever now and then and it’s so much fun. I have to get all her recipes for myself because my mother is the best Sri Lankan cook I know. I still think your step by step photography looks great. My step my step photography is horrible most of the time because I have bad lighting. Do you use a light box or window light for your final pictures? You have great lighting in those shots. Your “glamor” shots are always so crisp and beautiful, I’m still learning to take good pictures so I have to ask.

    • I use a flash for step-by-step (and now I remember… on this day my flash was in my husband’s car so I didn’t have the flash for step by step…that’s why it’s not clear, too. Forgot about that!). For the final shot, I took this the next day with natural light (window on light side) and the studio light (from left side). This year I want to learn more about lighting, too. :-)

  8. No need for apologies your pictures look great. The most important thing is that you had a great time cooking with your Mom and you don’t get to do that often. Looking forward to more.

  9. hi Nami! your site lost my pineapple cake comment…. never mind : ) these shrimp balls look scrumptious!! bet you never have left-overs in your home!

    • Jenny, I’m so sorry about that. As I mentioned in my facebook fan page, about 25 comments are gone from my database that night and I couldn’t even read them. Thanks for letting me know so I know one of them was from you. :-)

  10. Nami, these balls look gorgeous! I think I will make them soon (I always have some frozen shrimps not to mention the rest of the ingredients). I think all your photos, including the step-by-step ones, are perfect, as always.

  11. What matters more than the quality of pictures was the quality time you were able to spend with your mother and the documentation you now have to remember. Although, I still think your pictures are fab! This looks like something we had when we went out to eat not too long ago and I told my husband that I wanted to go home and recreate it. Great post, Nami!

  12. These pictures are still amazing, Nami! ^^ I’m jealous of your photography skills, really – and a bit jealous of your mother’s wonderful cooking skills! These all look great!

  13. Soma

    So absolutely delicious! Love shrimp and I want to pop some in now. Your photographs are gorgeous! We do a very similar one.. but in patty form and use chickpea flour to bind. I must make some soon.

  14. Kennedy

    THese look lovely, I do a similar recipe with fish and fry them in butter.. which are also delicious.. Using 2 forks to cover the balls with crumbs is a great idea!
    Can you pan fry or bake this dish?

    • Hi Kennedy! You can shallow fry (1/2 inch oil in frying pan) but it might take a long time as it’s in ball shape (maybe make it flat if you want to shallow fry?). Baking option is much healthier, but you can’t make them look golden brown like deep fried version…and if you deep fry correctly, the texture of these balls are much better than oven baked…and it shouldn’t be as oily as it sounds. :-)

  15. Ira Rodrigues

    To me, you’re always did a very good job. by doing step by step for the blog and blogged is uneasy work. your passion such an inspiration to me :)

  16. These shrimp balls look fantastic :) Delicious! I know what you mean by taking step by step pictures, I only take pictures of the finished product and already it can be so hard and difficult when you’re trying to cook and make it taste good all at the same time ~

  17. Nami, this is such a wonderful post, reminded me of when my Mom and I were making the pearl balls together for your blog! The photos looked good, don’t beat yourself up for it! I love that you included the secret of applying Panko, my fingers always get so sticky and why didn’t I think of using a folk? Anyway this is something I will be making very soon, thank you for sharing!

  18. Yay, you’re also featuring your mum’s shrimp balls recipe…:)!! I still remember that you once told me that our mum’s shrimp balls recipes are very similar :). You make me want to make shrimp balls again, but at the moment I am trying to cut down eating too much fried foods, I have been exaggerating in the past few months and had tonkatsu, ebi fry, etc quite regularly…;). At the moment I am mostly eating udon soup with boiled dumplings – perfect for winter too , the weather just keeps getting colder here, it’s crazy, I thought we we’re lucky that we had such a mild winter in December but apparently it just had not really started yet…hmmm…Btw, I am also just recovering from cold and sore throat myself, so apologies for not having responded to your e-mail yet… Will do soon :)!

  19. Hi Nami–That’s so awesome that you and your mom cook such wonderful things together. Love the cover photo with the shrimp ball on the chopsticks. (Did you use a Manfrotto magic arm by chance, or is that hand held?)
    – Michael

    • Hi Michael! Haha I didn’t know what’s Manfrotto magic arm so I had to Google it. =) That’s expensive stuff! What I did was to set a timer and the focus point and I held the chopsticks and used remote control. 😉

      • I’ve been reading up on all sorts of interesting food photography stuff. Putting all the knowledge into action though is not as easy as it seems though, right? Thanks for sharing about how you took the shot with the timer.
        – Michael

  20. Lucas @

    1) I’m surprised your mother didn’t murder you as my mother in law would if I asked her to stop every step and 2) you guys don’t devein the prawns (it’s the bit I hate, but I think it’s essential)?

    All in all, I’m now hungry for prawn, despite it being 6:17 am.

    • Hi Lucas!

      1) LOL! Well, she almost did…. But she got used to me asking her to stop after cooking one dish. But I know she wasn’t too happy because it took a longer time to cook one dish…

      2) Oh definitely you need to devein. I used deveined black tiger prawns (noted in Ingredients section). A lot of prawns we find here (not only frozen) are deveined…pretty convenient.

      • Lucas

        Ohhh, right. Says right there. Helps to actually read the recipe.

        And maybe it was because the prawns are so dark. Here in Australia we get much paler, orange-tailed unfrozen prawns.

  21. Great pictures and mouth watering shrimp balls. I could eat the whole batch by myself and skip the rest of the meal … ok, maybe I would just TASTE the other dishes. :)

    I have taken the step by step pictures myself and can relate to the frustration of washing hands etc. At some point I just said, the heck with it as the heat of the frying pan steamed up my camera lens.

    I can understand your poor mom’s frustration with having to measure everything as well. My mom’s recipes were based on the size of the pot or pan that she used to make something in. Or she would use a certain enameled coffee mug as her measure instead of a measuring cup. She would fill things up to a certain level or add liquid until the dough or batter was a certain consistency. When I tried to get her to slow down so I could measure things before hand or after she would get fed up with me too. :)

  22. Eri

    Hello Nami, I’m running like crazy these days, I love your moms shrimp balls, they look amazing, and I think that I can do them, we have something like this in Greece, but you know, with different ingredients, I will try to make yours! Hugs!

  23. Nami your photos look great and how wonderful you got to do this with your Mom. The shrimp balls look very tempting and that sauce, which one is that? I love all your sauces too. Have a great weekend!

  24. Well, don’t these just look like crunchy little balls of awesome. Fried – check, shrimp – check… I’m in 😀 Seems like a perfect appetizer… or I’m thinking maybe they’d even make an incredible sandwich!!!

  25. Oh, Nami-you are so lucky to have had your mom for the holidays to show you all her famous dishes. Actually, I love the idea coating the shrimp balls with the Panko crumbs, after all it’s Japanese, as well!
    The look so incredible, flavorful and very, very tempting. Thanks to your mom’s recipe, and love all the photos. The step-by-step photos are not expected to be perfect lighting, since photography is done in the kitchen with not the best lighting. I just happened to fall into luck recently, since I got new lights!

  26. Nami, the photographs are great! As always… and this dish is calling out to me! I am the only one in my home who eats shrimp, and so I rarely bother cooking it for myself… This one I want to make! And right NOW! Hehehe 😀 Really delicious looking! Thanks to your mom! :)

  27. The photos look great Nami. I can tell how crunchy and juicy and tasty they are! I have the urge to eat a few right now! I should probably try this at home soon :)
    I have the same problem when cooking with my mum and she can’t tell me the exact measurements of the ingredients she used. I usually have to give her option A, B or C and ask her to choose the closest answer :p

  28. From the look at the photo, I know this Mom’s Shrimp Ball is very yummy and delicious. Nami, you bet, I am going to make this very soon. Thank you for this recipe of yours!!!

  29. Nami, I love this post. I’m visiting my mom and showed her your post. I said, look her mom gets frustrated with the photography and note-taking, just like you and me! And I have to disagree with you – the shrimp balls look beautiful and delicious like everything else you make and shoot.

  30. Your photos look beautiful! I don’t know what you’re talking about there. 😛 Love the simple recipe, looks so tasty! I usually don’t like to deep fry things as it’s too troublesome and messy, not to mention it creates a lot of left over oil so I was thinking about buying a deep-fryer to do the job. 😛 I’m so lazy..

  31. I bet these balls taste wonderful, ’cause they look soooo good! Hope you have a great time with you family, Nami!
    I know how hard it is to take step-by-step pictures, wash your hands every time… And there is a light issue… It’s little bit annoying, so I give up. I take only final pictures.

  32. Well, I think they look great! That’s funny that your mom got annoyed when you asked her to stop moving – that’s so second nature to a food blogger, lol!
    These look delicious – so crispy and good on the outside. Yum.

  33. Okay I will admit.. my mouth was open in horror that you chopped up the prawns lol. I love eating them whole.. but when you formed the shrimp balls.. I was in love with them all over again. I also LOVE how you only used ingredients that enhances the the shrimp. You have outdone yourself Nami.. love this recipe

  34. Hmm~~ yummy Mommy, Nami 😀
    Nice couple, you and your mom are unified. Shrimp~ yuumm.. I love seafood :9 it looks delicious snack to eat in the afternoon. Have to try!

  35. You can come here and take photos anytime! I think they look grand. But center stage belongs to these delectable shrimp balls. I’m tempted to make the entire recipe – for two!

  36. Lovely post and your mom’s shrimp balls look so tasty! I love cooking together with my mom too and she’d explain very patiently to every of my questions when I started to take an interest in cooking at the age of 15-17. But she (and my dad) too gets a little annoyed when I wanted the exact measurements for ingredients! That’s why I don’t really dare to stop her for taking photos! Just kidding. LOL 😛
    I use my iPhone for all the photo takings and I’m so happy when I found the perfect location and timing with natural lighting in my house few weeks back! Heehee 😉
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  37. Nami your photos are beautiful as always, I don’t care what you say! It’s so nice that you and your mom got to cook together, very special. These look absolutely delicious! I don’t think I’ve had anything quite like this but I’d like to try!

  38. Its always great when mom comes for a visit! My mom prepared a few signature dishes on her last visit, so I totally know what you mean. Pity I didn’t think of taking photographs while she was cooking! lol! These shrimp balls are wonderful. Thanks to your mom for making them!!!

  39. Everything looks so drool-worthy!!!

    I am with you in regards to step-by-step photos — I used to do it in my initial food blogging days. It became too much work and hectic. Plus, I was risking my DSLR from getting way too dirty 😀

  40. The how-to pictures are helpful, and the finished products are lovely. I think that’s how it should be…
    And the shrimp balls looks like a really great appetizer!
    p.s if I see the yuzus again, I’ll email you :)

  41. hi Nami!

    oh yeah i know what i t means to wash the hands every now and then to make a photo. lol
    My husband helped me to make the soji dessert (which posted on my blog) that day and he got irritate too on the fact that i needed to know exact measurements, poor boy…

    you call those back tiger prawns? we call them white. lol
    usually one has to remove the intenstines right? in the market they tell us always that its not nessesary with those prawns. I have noted down your prawns cleaning tip.
    Seems like I can get all the ingredients for once. I am just wondering what panko is?
    I d love to try this recipe nami, in case i cant get panko what can i use instead?

    • That’s interesting that you guys call it white tiger prawns, or white prawns? In Japan we call it Black Tiger too, and my mom insisted that we HAVE TO use this kind (which is okay with me since we have it here). Most of the prawns here sold without intestine, and they are even deveined too. So easy to cook!

      Helene, you don’t know Panko? You MUST find it. Panko is Japanese bread crumbs ( Trust me, you will love it!

  42. No need to apologize for the step-by-step photos :) You were lost in fun times with your Mom and that’s a totally acceptable reason! These shrimp balls look fantastic and I actually really like that you used panko instead of breadcrumbs. Delish!

  43. Nami – These shrimp balls are so beautiful and delicious. How nice you got to cook with your mom while she was visiting and blog about it! I think I will have to make these soon.

  44. What a sweetheart your mother is for letting you share her signature recipes (sans the bread cubes hehe). Still look amazing and I am not the first one to mention just how great the photos look!
    I think I will serve them as an appetizer next I invite people over!

    I am not good at serving several dishes at the same time. I always wondered how people do that without the food getting cold! I mean, especially deep fried food loses its crunch rather quickly. Guess I am just not onrganised enough. 😉


  45. Hey Nami, these shrimp balls still look gorgeous and delicious! I like the 2 larger photos of the finished plate of shrimp balls. I think you can pick one of these and feature very proudly at the top of your post like you normally do. Really! About the recipe, I’m so glad that you shared this one. I’ve had these before in restaurants but wasn’t quite sure how they were made. Now, I can try my hand at making your mom’s shrimp balls at home. I love this post! =)

  46. Dont you love it when your mom is around, my mom visited me as well this holiday season and she was with us for 1 1/2 months, I asked her to do some cooking, those things I missed. I will have several posts soon. BTW that shrimp balls looks so amazing I definitely can devour more than a dozen of those :)

  47. お母さんも料理上手なのねえ。これホント美味しそう。揚げ物が好きだから、これは絶対作る料理だわ。

  48. Moms are the best ! Thanks for sharing your mom’s recipe, Nami :-) heheh I could imagine the expression on your mom’s face when you asked her to measure things 😀 Mine would do the same

  49. How lucky u are to have “an assistance” to do the step-by-step for u! Yes! I know how “hard” to cook and taking a ste-by-step pic at the same time 😀
    when my mom visiting at x’mas and new year all I want to do is cooking for her, since she always do the cooking-job for my sisters and brother, will remember this when she visiting again, good reminder :)
    sprimp ball looks so yummy, I’m sure my kids and husband will love this! Tq for sharing nami 😉

  50. Mika

    We have most of ingredients and now all we need is your mother! I think this would be a perfect aptizer for a weekend dinner.

  51. Yummm…I’m a sucker for anything with shrimp. I don’t usually fry because I’m always worried about the safety, especially in a small apartment. Do you think this recipe could be modified a bit for baking in the oven?

    • Baking is much healthier, but you can’t make them look golden brown like deep fried version…and texture will be a little bit different. Unfortunately nothing beats the crispy fried golden brown shrimp balls. 😀 I’d still recommend shallow fry (1/2 inch oil in frying pan) but it might take a long time as it’s in ball shape (maybe make it flat). :-)

  52. HI Nami, I’ve found your lovely & informative blog via Sonia & Anncoo Journal. This is my 2nd time visit but 1st time leaving message, I think. I can’t remember anymore. I love prawns very much & this deep fried shrimp ball just captures my eyes!