Korean cocktail meatballs with Sweet Soy Glaze

Korean Cocktail Meatballs for the Holidays!

These meatballs are fried and not oven baked or slow cooked. It is light and almost fluffy(?) in the inside with bits of kimchi bursting with flavor and then has a bit of a chewy and crusty outside. And then my sweet soy glaze with sesame seeds will definitely make you and your guests wanting for more.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Korean, Koreanfusion
Keyword juicy, moist, party menu, tofu
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 25 meatballs
Calories 83kcal
Author JinJoo Lee


  • 5-6 cups Vegetable oil or Canola oil for deep frying

Meatball mix:

  • 4 oz ground pork
  • 2 oz ground beef
  • 6 oz waterless tofu , crumbled
  • 3 tbsp napa cabbage kimchi , chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic , chopped
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt (Trader Joe's)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Sweet Soy Glaze:

  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce , jin ganjang
  • 2 tbsp rice syrup
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine or cooking sake
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 dried red chilies (Japones Chile)
  • 1 tbsp garlic , chopped


  • In a sauce pan, heat sesame and vegetable oil on medium high heat. Add garlic and red chilis.
  • Sauté garlic and red chili for 30 secs to 1 minute until slightly brown and fragrant.
  • Add to garlic oil, remaining ingredients. Mix and bring to boil. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly thick. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • Finely chop napa cabbage kimchi. Set aside. (Kimchi should be fully fermented. See my No Crazy Kimchi post if you want to know more about how to ripen/ferment Kimchi properly)
  • In a stand mixer, add pork, tofu, garlic, ginger powder, salt, baking powder. Whip mixture until smooth. Consistency should be pasty and everything should be pale pink color. This step is important in producing light, fluffy meatballs so make sure you whip it fully so that it looks like whipped butter – well almost.
  • Add egg, milk, bread crumbs and whip until just everything is evenly mixed.
  • Add beef and kimchi. Mix again until just combined but not whipped. You should still see bits of beef. Unlike the pork, we want ground beef to add texture so DO NOT over mix at this stage.
  • Form balls by rolling them between your hands. You will get about 25 x 15g (0.5 oz) size meatballs.
  • Store covered in fridge until ready to use. Should be good for 1 day.
  • Fry at 325° F for 5 min. or so until outside is slightly browned. Frying time may vary based on size of meatball and temperature.
  • When done, transfer fried meatballs to a pan on medium high heat. Quickly add soy glaze to pan and roll meatballs around to coat evenly. Just shake the pan from side to side. Use about 1 Tbs glaze sauce for about 14 meatballs. Sauce will reduce and coat meatballs at the same time. Take off heat once the sauce has disappeared.
  • Finish by sprinkling sesame seeds in pan to coat meatballs. Could be served with extra sauce on the side.


Serve with some perilla leaves or green onions and extra sauce.


Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 62mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 7.9mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 0.4mg