Asian Meatball Karaage 肉団子の唐揚げ

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  • Love meatballs and fried foods?  Why not combine the two!  You’ll love these deep fried Asian Meatball Karaage! 

    Asian Meatball Karaage in a blue dish.

    My kids love deep-fried crispy food so we usually have some kind of deep-fried dish once every other week.  The kids love meatballs too, so I made these Asian Meatball Karaage, or Nikudango Karaage (肉団子の唐揚げ).

    Asian Meatball Karaage

    Unlike western meatballs with tomato sauce or gravy, Japanese meatballs, or Nikudango (肉団子) as we call in Japan, are rather plain.  They are usually served with a dipping sauce or seasoning such as ketchup or karashi mustard soy sauce (辛子醤油).  Sometimes meatballs are coated with sweet and sour sauce or sweet soy sauce glaze.

    Meatballs are often deep fried too.  The juice from the meat is trapped inside the meatball once deep fried, so the meatballs are even juicier and more delicious!

    For these Asian Meatball Karaage, I used fish sauce as a umami booster instead of typical Japanese seasonings and it worked perfectly.

    Asian Meatball Karaage in a blue dish.

    Asian Meatball Karaage for Bento & Appetizer

    Japanese would eat these Asian Meatball Karaage as a main course meal, but they are also perfect for an party appetizer or even children’s lunch!  Make mini ones that fit in kids’ lunch box.  They freeze well too, so you can save leftover for future meal or bento menu.

    Asian Meatball Karaage in a blue dish.

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    Asian Meatball Karaage in a light blue bowl, garnished with cilantro.
    Asian Meatball Karaage
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    20 mins
    Total Time
    30 mins
     
    Course: Main Course
    Servings: 3
    Ingredients
    • 14 oz ground pork (400 g)
    • ½ cup corn (frozen)
    • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp fish sauce
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 Tbsp potato/corn starch
    • ¼ cup cilantro (loosely packed, chopped)
    • neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (for deep frying)
    Instructions
    1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well with hands.
    2. In a wok, heat oil over medium high. When you put a chopstick in the oil and see bubbles around it, it’s ready for deep frying.
    3. Use 2 spoons to make a meatball and drop inside the oil gently. Do not crowd the wok.
    4. When the meatballs are nice golden brown, take them out and put them on a paper towel to absorb extra oil. Make sure the meat inside is cooked through, especially if it turns brown too fast.
    Recipe Notes

    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 and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on January 27, 2011.  The pictures have been updated in May 2018.

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