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Meatballs with Tomato-Amazake Sauce

A little sugar is often added to many Japanese recipes to sweeten savory dishes; here, amazake’s fermented element imparts a gentle sweetness, while its thickness blends easily into the sauce. Lemon zest injects a refreshing accent. This tomato sauce is ideal served over vegetables for vegans.

(per serving)

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

Genmai amazake
Tomato sauce
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, 400 g / 14 oz. (approx. 1 lb.)
  • 150 ml / 3/5 C genmai amazake*1
  • 2 thin lemon slices
  • Lemon zest, 1/4 the amount from one lemon
  • 1 T Kikkoman Light Color Soy Sauce*2
  • 1 1/2 t butter
  • 1/2 onion chopped, 80 g / 2.7 oz.
  • 40-50 g / 1.4-1.7oz. slice of bread or baguette
  • 500 g / 18 oz. ground beef-pork mix*3
  • Lemon zest, 1/2 - 3/4 the amount from one lemon
  • 4 t genmai amazake
  • 1 1/2 t Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 1/6 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil
  • *1 C (U.S. cup) = approx. 240 ml; 1 T = 15 ml; 1 t = 5 ml


  1. 1

    Place the tomatoes with juice into a saucepan, along with amazake, lemon slices and zest, and light color soy sauce. Lightly mash together, then simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. 2

    Remove lemon slices. Puree the sauce and set aside.

  3. 3

    Add the butter to a frying pan and sauté the chopped onion. Set aside.

  4. 4

    Soak bread in a bowl of water, drain and squeeze out moisture, then tear into small pieces.

  5. 5

    In a bowl, mix and knead well all the meatball ingredients, except for the egg. After kneading, add the egg and mix well.

  6. 6

    Form balls with a diameter of 4 cm / 1.5 in. each, weighing about 30 g / 1 oz. to make a total of 24-26 meatballs.

  7. 7

    Add a small amount of olive oil to a frying pan. On medium-low heat, cook the meatballs until they are nicely browned.

  8. 8

    Add meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Taste and add a pinch of salt if needed.

  9. 9

    Serve the meatballs in a deep dish covered with the sauce.

  1. *1If genmai (brown rice) amazake is unavailable, substitute regular amazake.
  2. *2Kikkoman Soy Sauce may be substituted.
  3. *3Any ground meat may be used.

Recipe by Michiko Yamamoto

Vol. 31

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