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

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


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


  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.