Mince the onion. Finely chop the garlic and ginger. Saute in a pan with oil.
When the onion is translucent, turn off the heat and let it cool. It will cool down faster if you put it on a stainless steel countertop rather than leaving it on the stove.
When the cooked vegetables have cooled down, add the meat, sake, egg, salt, and pepper, and knead together well with your hands. Form into meatballs of the size you prefer.
Put half the meatballs in a separate dish. Leave the rest of the meatballs in the frying pan.
Start heating the meatballs without oil over high heat. When they start to sizzle, lower the heat to medium.
If you insert your cooking chopsticks under a meatball at this angle, it will roll against the side of the pan towards you. When you've rolled each one over once, do the same to both sides. It's hard to make the meatballs perfectly round though, they end up as cylinders or triangular shaped.
When the meatballs are browned on the surface, take them out and brown the rest of the meatballs. Add all the meatballs back into the pan and roll them around to make them round.
Add the water, put on a lid and steam. When there's just a little water left in the pan, check the meatballs to see if they're done by sticking a skewer into one, then add the ☆ ingredients.
When the sauce comes to a boil, add the ★ katakuriko dissolved in water and coat. When it comes to a boil again and has thickened, it's done.
If you like the sauce to be sour, add a little black vinegar. Garnish with the white part of a leek, finely shredded, if serving to adults. Freeze the leftovers.
Story Behind this Recipe
I made these for a bento for a family outing. They're quite hearty.
Fat will seep out of the meatballs as they cook, so besides the oil used to cook the onions, garlic, and ginger you don't need to add any to the pan. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.