How to Make Bakso Goreng – Asian Deep Fried Meatballs

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Asian deep-fried meatballs in Indonesia (Bakso Goreng) are very delicious as side dish to a bowl of chicken noodle or even as afternoon snack! They are crunchy from the outside, soft and chewy inside!

asian deep-fried meatballs

This is one important dish you must try if you travel to Asia! It’s crunchy on the skin and soft inside with bits of shrimp chunks. Most people use pork or chicken as the meat base. Some even use fish or minced beef!

They are delicious and an excellent choice for a side dish! You can usually find it in noodle shop. It is a perfect companion to a bowl of chicken noodle.

Here I will teach you how to make deep-fried meatballs with family recipe I have used for a long time. I have even tried selling these meatballs successfully in my store. A lot of my customers love the meatballs so much they repeat orders a few times!

deep fried meatballs
Deep-fried meatballs

Origin of Deep-fried Meatballs

Where do meatballs come from?

There are sources saying meatballs were first made in ancient Persia. They called the meatballs kofta and as Persians traded with countries nearby, they exchanged goods and knowledge about culinary too. That was how meatballs were introduced.

Italian meatballs are made of meat and soaked bread, eggs and vegetables. They use beef, lamb, turkey, and even fish. They call the meatballs polpettes and serve them with rich tomato sauce.

polpettes
Polpettes

Meatballs come in various sizes and shapes. Of course the round shape is the most favorite hence the name. They are made from ground lamb, beef, pork, mixed with breadcrumbs, eggs, vegetables.

Meatballs Versions From Around The World

There are many kinds of meatballs around the world. Some are baked and some are deep-fried.

Chinese people call it Lion’s head (獅子頭) and serve it with vermicelli, broth and vegetables.

Italian-American meatballs are made of beef and pork and simmered with tomato sauce.

In Indonesia, meatballs are called bakso, a popular dish you can easily find all over the country. And in Indonesia alone, there are so many versions of bakso from each town.

indonesian meatballs
Indonesian meatballs bakso

Are Meatballs Gluten-Free?

Meatballs are usually made of breadcrumbs and eggs or tapioca flour, along with other ingredients like minced onion, butter, and seasoning. There are many cooking methods used e.g. fried, baked, steamed, or braised in sauce.

To categorize it as gluten-free, you need to know the ingredients used.

If the meatballs are made using breadcrumbs or fresh bread, then it is officially loaded with gluten. Breadcrumbs act as binding agent so it is easily formed into a round shape.

Asian meatballs mostly use tapioca flour, which is gluten-free. Tapioca flour or tapioca starch is from the root of the cassava plant. Although it’s starchy but it is gluten free.

Meats For The Meatballs Around The World

The meat used for making meatballs varies in each country. Beef and pork are mostly used in Italy, America, and European countries. Some use turkey meat or even fish.

In Asia, beef are used for meatballs in broth. For deep-fried version, chicken and pork are mostly used with shrimps added to make it more delicious and fragrant.

Asian Deep-fried Meatballs

I will share a recipe for also called bakso goreng, usually found in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.

It is also one of so many popular Indonesian dish you can find easily on street food.

Let me explain the ingredients first!

Binding Agent

What’s the binding agent in a bakso goreng? There are several things that you can use as binding agent in a deep-fried meatball.

In Asia, you will find most meatball recipes use tapioca flour to bind the ingredients. The texture will be bouncy and soft inside with a crispy skin on the outside.

Seasoning

Basically, you can use sesame oil, salt, pepper and mushroom powder. Some people use fish sauce or oyster sauce and other seasonings.

I have tried several recipes, still I like this one the most! The ingredients are simple. After all, they are mostly available in ordinary kitchen.

Another thing is I add minced garlic to make the meatballs more fragrant. Of course you can add scallions and coriander leaves if you like more aromatic flavors.

The perfect flavor should be a balance between salty, sweet, and umami flavor. Add sugar to give a touch of sweetness to the batter. Furthermore, to reach umami flavor, you can add Worchester sauce or mushroom powder.

Egg

Egg plays quite an important part here, indeed. For one thing, it binds the whole ingredients and help make the meatballs soft inside. And another is it makes the texture tender inside.

Meat

Meat part consists of 350 gr of ground chicken fillet (chicken thigh would be a better choice) or pork (combined with a little fat; this one is the best option ) and 150 gr shrimps.

Although using lean meats like chicken (breast part) or turkey is okay, you might want to consider adding a little extra fat, such as bacon or rendered pork fat, to prevent dryness.

I would highly recommend a ratio of 70% lean to 30% fat to keep the moist, tender texture.

Another meat that you can use is minced beef. Choose the part with a little fat. This will make your meatball texture more bouncy and juicy.

The ratio of meat and shrimps is after all very flexible. You can add more shrimp if you like, as long as the total amount of the meat part is 500 gr.

Storage

If you have some bakso goreng leftover, you can store them in a plastic container in the chiller. The next day, you can use air-frier to heat them up or simply put them in the microwave.

Should you opt for frying the meatballs at a later time, whether it be the following day or 2 days later, please note that the bakso goreng batter can be safely stored in the refrigerator overnight or even in the freezer.

I would highly recommend to transfer the bakso goreng batter from the freezer to the chiller a day in advance. Before frying, allow the batter to rest at room temperature for approximately 20 minutes before proceeding with the frying process.

Serving

Now that you have finished deep frying the meatballs, cut the fried meatballs into bite size. Serve with chilli sauce, or Sriracha mayo sauce. I also attach sauce recipe. It is very suitable for the deep-fried meatballs.

This kind of meatball may be new for you. Nevertheless you can always introduce deep fried meatballs as a favorite afternoon snack in your family or serve with chicken noodles, fried rice, or any meals.

If you have a cafe or restaurant, you can list this as one of the snack menu. People will love it.

Asian Deep Fried Meatball Recipe (Bakso Goreng)

Wet Ingredients

  • 350 gr chicken fillet (thigh)
  • 150 gr shrimp (peeled and deveined, chopped coarsely)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-5 garlic cloves (minced/crushed)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil ( I use coconut oil)

Dry Ingredients

  • 300 gr tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp mushroom powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 sdt baking soda

You can prepare the wet ingredients in a bowl. Mix them all together. Set aside.

Baking powder and baking soda are to make the meatballs form a fully developed shape and crunchy.

Step by Step Instruction

Now that you have the wet and dry ingredients prepared, it is so easy to make the batter.

  1. Firstly, put the ground meat and shrimp into a big bowl.

deep fried meatballs bakso goreng

  1. Put all the wet ingredients into the big bowl. You can mix it first using a spatula.
  2. Put all the dry ingredients into it. Mix well.

deep fried meatball bakso goreng
deep fried meatball bakso goreng

  1. Heat cooking oil in a pot 175-190°C. The cooking oil should be enough to dip the batter until it is fully submerged.
  2. Check if the oil is hot enough using a wooden stick. If small bubbles come out at the stick, it is ready to fry.
  3. Shape the meatballs using 2 spoons, by scooping it back and forth, and scoop it with a cookie scoop as I have shown in the video. If it is your first time, don’t worry if it is not a perfect round shape. Practice, you will be able to make it round enough it will glide on the table. 🙂
  4. Drop into the hot cooking oil. It will be at the bottom of the pan first. The batter will later come up by itself when it is well cooked. You can stir it once in a while. Keep the stove on medium heat.

deep fried meatballs bakso goreng

  1. To prevent burning on only one side, keep stirring the meatballs with long chopsticks.
  1. It will take around 25 minutes to let it cook well inside. You do not want a meatball that is still raw in the middle part.
  2. The perfect color should be a little brown. The meatballs will be floating eventually when it is done. However, you still have to pay attention to the color.
  3. Take out the meatballs and put them on a paper towel, let the oil drain until they are dry.
  4. Cut them in bite sizes.
  5. Finally, serve with the dipping chilli sauce.

Chilli Sauce For Dipping

  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp chilli sauce 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 100-200 ml water

Mix all the sauce ingredients together. Stir well. If you like it thick, use only 100 ml of water in it.

bakso goreng deep fried meatballs

FAQ

Q: Can I make Asian deep-fried meatballs / bakso goreng ahead of time?

A: Absolutely! You can prepare the batter ahead of time for convenience. Shape the meatballs and store them in an airtight container in the chiller for up to 24 hours. Take out the batter and let it rest for 20 minutes before frying.

Q: Can I bake Asian meatballs instead of deep frying them?

A: Yes! For healthy reason, you can bake the meatballs instead of deep-frying them. Shape the meatballs and preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the meatballs on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake them for 25 minutes. While the texture might be different from the deep-fried version, baking is the healthier cooking method.

Q: What are some common sauce options for dipping Asian meatballs?

A: There are several sauce options you can use for dipping the meatballs.

  • Sweet and Sour Sauce: A tangy and sweet sauce made with vinegar, sugar, and tomato ketchup.
  • Spicy Sriracha Mayo: A combination of mayonnaise and sriracha sauce for a creamy and spicy kick.
  • Teriyaki Sauce: A savory and slightly sweet sauce made with soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and ginger.
  • Peanut Sauce: A rich and nutty sauce made with peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, and spices.

Conclusion

Deep fried meatballs always fascinate people on their culinary journey all over the world. Many kinds of meatballs from around the world have become favorite food.

Asian deep fried meatballs are easy to make and very popular in many Asian countries. This recipe is a must-try! The ingredients are easy to get and you will love it!

If you try this recipe and like it, I also have other recipe with almost the same ingredients, you might also want to try Shrimp Ball or Menbosha.

deep fried meatballs

DEEP-FRIED MEATBALLS

Yield: 15-20
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Here is a recipe for Asian deep-fried meatballs that are so easy to make! Plus it is gluten free!

Ingredients

Meat

  • 350 gr ground chicken or pork meat (chicken thigh or pork with fat)
  • 150 gr shrimp (peeled and deveined)

Dry ingredients

  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp mushroom powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 sdt baking soda
  • 300 gr tapioca flour

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Chilli Sauce

  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 100-200 ml water

Instructions

  1. The meat part: process the meat (chicken or pork) until smooth. Chop the shrimp roughly so you still get some tiny bits of shrimp in your meatballs.
  2. Dry ingredients: Put all the dry ingredients into a big bowl.
  3. Wet ingredients: Put all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix altogether in a big bowl: meat, dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Using a spatula, mix all evenly.
  5. Heat a wok of cooking oil or you can use a pot for deep frying.
  6. Using 2 spoons, scoop the meat mixture and shape it round. Check the videos on how to make it round.
  7. Put in the hot oil for frying. Use medium heat. The meatball will surface by itself.
  8. Once in a while stir the meatballs so it fries evenly on all sides.
  9. Time needed to fry the meatballs will be around 20-25 minutes so it fries evenly in the middle.
  10. Drain the meatballs in a pan using kitchen towel. Cut into pieces.
  11. Chilli sauce: mix all ingredients for chilli sauce, stir well.
  12. Serve with chilli sauce. Enjoy!

Notes

1. Use medium heat for the stove.

2. Practice using 2 spoons to make the batter round before putting it in a hot oil.

3. If you don't want to use shrimp, weigh the meat (chicken or pork) 500 gr.

4. Always use chicken thigh or pork with fat for the meat, it will be more delicious.

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