Here is another recipe from "Bento Boxes", modified of course. Naturally, I first tried this recipe for my son's kindergarten bento, but it's also great for dinner. As a recipe for a bento, the portions are small, so I have increased them, mainly so I can make a lot and freeze the left-overs, which are then easily heated up two or three at a time, for any bento, or served as a side dish at a meal.
Besides the amounts, I have also changed the cooking process, and I don't serve the meatballs with quail eggs, which I don't like. The original recipe has one egg and one meatball speared on a toothpick, and it's very cute (two or three skewers in a bento). As for cooking, the meatballs are to be deep fried, perhaps to keep the ball shape, but I dislike deep-fat frying (seems like a waste of oil) and pan frying doesn't seem to take that long or make funky-shaped meatballs.
1/2 onion, minced
250-300 grams ground meat (I prefer a pork/beef mix)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs or quick-cooking oatmeal
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp each sugar, soy sauce, mirin and sake
Saute the onion in about a tablespoon of oil until translucent. Allow the onion to cool. Mix the ground meat, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, and a small amount of salt and pepper; combine well. Roll into small balls. [Deep fry at 340 F (170 C) for 2-3 minutes until browned well] Cook meatballs until well done. If you fried them in a pan, drain meatballs, wipe pan with a paper towel (be careful not to burn yourself like I do!) then place meatballs in the pan with remaining ingredients. Simmer over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, turning the meatballs often to cover them with the glaze.
If you are serving these in a bento, you probably don't need the left-over glaze. If serving for a meal, put the meatballs in a dish that can hold liquid then pour the extra glaze over them.
Pictured above, the meatballs are served with steamed veggies seasoned with fresh Italian dressing. Please click on the picture to view on flickr, so you can see a bit more of the meatballs.