Japanese Crispy Fried Tuna Rice Balls with Wasabi Orange Sauce


These crispy fried rice balls with tuna are a Japanese appetizer perfect for parties. Serve them with my sweet & hot Orange Wasabi Sauce! 

fried tuna rice balls in a small white Japanese bowl

Looking for an easy appetizer? These Crispy Fried Rice Balls with Tuna are just the ticket!

Who else is recovering from a serious sugar-hangover after the sugar-laden Christmas holidays!?

I have had nothing but broth and steamed veggies today – that’s how fed up I felt with all things chocolate and cookies!

Nevertheless, it is already time to think about what we want to serve for New Year’s Eve, right? When it comes to party food, we love to serve fried rice balls, as they hold up well and can be eaten hot and cold.

Usually, we make arancini but I have been craving Japanese food lately and created a Sushi-inspired fried rice ball appetizer that turned out so delicious that I just had to share it with you guys before New Year’s Eve!

Crispy Fried Japanese Tuna Rice Balls served on an appetizer platter with orange sauce on the side

Now, rice balls can be quite bland and stodgy, but not these babies! These are packed with flavor from tuna, Nori, cilantro, spring onions, and ginger.

Paired with a sweet and hot Wasabi Orange Dipping Sauce, these fried rice balls are little bombs of flavor that your guests will fight over.

What I love about this recipe is that you can make the seasoned rice and the sauce ahead of time and fry them up within minutes once you need them.

The perfect party food/ appetizer/ Game Day Snack for busy days!

Why these Japanese Crispy Fried Rice Balls with Tuna are the perfect party food:

  • The rice is tossed with tuna and seasoned with a refreshing combo of cilantro, ginger and spring onions.
  • Japanese Panko Breadcrumbs make for the perfect crispy crunchy coating.
  • The ingredients are all easy to get and the recipe is cheap to make – even when cooking for a big crowd.
  • Served with a sweet and spicy Orange Wasabi Sauce, these Japanese Fried Rice Balls with Tuna are utterly addictive.

Crispy Fried Rice Balls with Tuna Filling in a Japanese bowl with orange wasabi sauce on the side

Tips for making the perfect crispy fried rice balls:

  • Use a kitchen thermometer to make sure your oil has the perfect temperature for frying. If you don’t have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 2 minutes.
  •  It’s best to roll and bread all of the Japanese rice balls before beginning frying since the frying is quick and requires your full attention.
  • You can make the orange wasabi sauce a day ahead of time and chill it in the fridge. Should it get too thick, stir in a tbsp of orange juice.

Variations on this recipe:

  • If you don’t like tuna, you can use 300 g of ground chicken instead! You will need to fry the balls longer to make sure the ground chicken cooks through. Alternatively, fry the minced meat before adding to the rice.
  • Should you not be a fan or Nori, simply skip them and bread the chilled rice balls as they are.
  • For the sauce, you can also use grapefruit juice or tangerine juice or a mix of orange and grapefruit.
  • If you cannot find wasabi paste, you can buy wasabi powder and stir it into a paste with some orange juice or skip the wasabi altogether.

Crispy Fried Rice Balls with Tuna Filling and Panko Breading served in a Japanese Bowl

At what temperature do you fry rice balls?

In a deep skillet, heat oil with a high smoking point to 338- 240 degrees F (170 degrees C). Your pan or pot should have enough oil to completely cover the rice balls.

Fry the Japanese tuna rice balls about 4 at a time for 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed to ensure even browning. Drain them on paper towels and serve warm or at room temperature.

If you liked this recipe for crispy fried rice balls, you would also enjoy my Sushi with Strawberries, Feta & Asparagus or my Crunchy Mango Sushi Roll!

Did you make and love this Crispy Fried Rice Balls recipe? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

Crispy Fried Rice Balls with Tuna Filling in a Japanese bowl with orange wasabi sauce on the side
5 from 9 votes
Print

Japanese Crispy Fried Rice Balls with Tuna & Orange Wasabi Sauce

These crispy fried rice balls with tuna are a Japanese appetizer perfect for parties. Serve them with my sweet & hot Orange Wasabi Sauce! 

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Asian, Japanese
Keyword crispy fried rice balls, fried rice balls with tuna, Japanese fried rice balls
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling 3 hours
Total Time 47 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 100 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

For the rice balls

  • 300 g prepared sushi rice 230 g uncooked
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 35 g freshly grated ginger
  • 1 can tuna in water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 6 Nori sheets
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g panko crumbs
  • 80 g cornstarch
  • 1 l oil for frying

For the Orange Wasabi Sauce

  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 200 ml orange juice
  • 1 tsp wasabi
  • 1 tsp sugar or Stevia

Instructions

  1. Add cooked, cooled rice to a bowl. Chop spring onions and cilantro finely and add to the rice. Grate the ginger and add half of it to the rice. Drain tuna and add as well. Mix rice mixture well and season with salt and sugar. 

  2. Shape 1 heaping tbsp of rice mixture into a ball and place onto a big plate lined with cling film. Continue with the rest of the rice mixture until all is used up. Chill the rice balls covered with cling film for 2 - 3 hours or overnight. 

  3. Mix 1 tbsp orange juice with 1/2 tsp of cornstarch. Heat leftover orange juice with wasabi, leftover ginger,  1 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt until it starts to boil. Add cornstarch slurry and let the sauce thicken. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and cover with cling film and chill. 

  4. Halve the Nori sheets. Moisten one half with some water to make it more malleable. I use a spray bottle for this. Wrap this moistened Nori sheets around one of the chilled rice balls and press gently between cupped hands to shape a ball. Repeat with all rice balls. If you run out of Nori Sheets, that's no problem. The rice balls can be breaded and fried without Nori.

  5. Heat the oil in a pot or deep dish until a thermometer reads 170 Celsius or 338 F. In the meantime, crack eggs into a shallow bowl and measure out cornstarch and panko into 2 separate bowls. 

  6. Roll tuna balls in cornstarch, then dip into egg mixture and finally coat with panko. Fry balls in the hot fat for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Don't add more than 4 balls to the hot fat at one time to keep the temperature steady. Transfert done rice balls on a plate lined with paper towels. 

  7. Serve Tuna Rice Balls with Orange Wasabi Sauce. 

Recipe Notes

 

  • Use a kitchen thermometer to make sure your oil has the perfect temperature for frying. If you don't have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 2 minutes.
  •  It’s best to roll and bread all of the Japanese rice balls before beginning frying since the frying is quick and requires your full attention.
  • You can make the orange wasabi sauce a day ahead of time and chill it in the fridge. Should it get too thick, stir in a tbsp of orange juice.
Crispy Japanese Fried Rice Balls with Tuna - learn how to make the crispiest Asian rice balls! Serve them with my Wasabi Orange Sauce for the ultimate finger food or party snack #fingerfood, #asianrecipes

 

 

 

 


12 Comments

  1. Love this idea for a change up to Arancini! So many delicious flavors packed inside these Japanese rice balls! I bet guests would go nuts over these! 🙂

  2. This is my kind of food. Crispy rice balls, tuna, seaweed. Yup, my family would enjoy this very much. Saving this for when I have time to make.

  3. Oh. My. Goodness. These ‘little bombs of flavour’ look absolutely incredible. I LOVE Japanese food and these appetizers look just delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ahh these bring back memories of Korean restaurants. There was a dish where they took a roll of sushi and deep fried it. Yum! I’ll have to somehow combine the two recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Your list of ingredients definitely will make them more flavorful than any balls that I’ve tried! I also think the variation of chicken sounds wonderful.

  6. I’ve just come back from Japan and the food, sushi and sashimi especially are amazing. These look incredibly tasty, and also fun to eat. We love panko, it makes everything so crispy!

  7. Mmm!! This sounds so good. We love arancini and this is a great variation. The dipping sauce ideas you give are just the kind we like. The fruity ones would be very tasty and the wasabi – that certainly gives a nice kick to any appetizer.

  8. These look like the perfect appetizer idea! Thank for sharing!

  9. I love the sounds of the orange wasabi sauce you’ve created for this dish. I bet the orange adds just the right hint of sweetness to the spicy wasabi!

  10. Ooh yum, these are amazing!! Love the fusion of flavors! Arancini are one of my all-time favorite appetizers, I love the Japanese influence in this version though.

  11. That wasabi orange sauce sounds amazing, and I guarantee that my fiance will double up on the wasabi because he loves it so much!

  12. I’m planning a non traditional super bowl sunday spread, so these would be perfect for the event! Everything about this recipe sounds excellent! Thanks for the thorough directions. I’m pretty confident I won’t mess this up! 🙂

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