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Mom’s Meatball (Dango) Soup


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I am extremely lucky to have a great mother that cooks very well.  My mom created many delicious dishes, but there were a few that just stood out from the rest, and this dango soup is one of them. I recall when I was growing up, I would ask my mom what is for dinner.  Every time she said, “Hmm, what about dango soup?”, I knew it was going to be a good night.  This dish is something I always crave during the colder months.  It is loaded with fat and oils, so it traps the heat and keeps the soup hot for a very long time.  Since I really like my soups hot, this ‘warming affect’ held a special place for me.  Once I moved out to go to college, I called my mom and asked her the exact directions to make this dish.  Now, I’m not sure whether other peoples mother’s directions are like this, but my mom’s explanation was “you know, add this and add that and heat and taste it.  If you need more flavor, just add more soy sauce and salt”….?  So instead of a simple phone call, it took 10 years of experimenting with different ratios until I found one that captures the essence of what I experienced as a kid.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did growing up!

keto japanese Meatball (Dango) Soup pin 1

This dish would be labeled keto approved with only has 1.75g carbs per serving.  It is also very filling so can be enjoyed as a co-main dish, or a main dish with some salad.  This is a very subtle and delicate tasting soup.  So if you are looking for something more bold and savory, I would recommend our Asian Keto Tonjiru Soup recipe instead.

For this dish, the ingredients shouldn’t be too hard to attain.  You will need Japanese sake (here is the one we use for reference ), bonito flakes, and ground pork.  Ground pork might be hard to come by if you don’t live near an Asian supermarket, but you might be able to request your butcher to make some for you.  Although it does seem like a lot of ingredients, this dish is very easy to make!

Now, let’s get started!

Prepping Time 15M

Cook Time 10M

Total Time 25M

Net Carb/Serv ~1.75g

Servings 4-5

Ingredients

Broth

Meatballs

  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 lb Ground Beef (20 % fat or greater.  You can also use 2lbs of Pork if you prefer, which will make the meatballs juicy)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 tbsp Half & Half
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Sticks of Garlic Chives

Directions

1) Gather all the ingredients.

2) In large stove top pot, add 7 cups of water.

3) Add strainer inside stove top pot and place bonito flakes inside.  Bring to boil.  Once boiling, turn heat down to simmer.

4) Cut 1/2 onion and dice.  There are many ways to do this, but the method I use is to make 1 cut perpendicular against the lines of the onions.  Then make the same cut on the other side to have 2 flat sides.  Cut in thin slices.  Turn the onion 90 degrees clockwise and make another set of thin slices.  You should you diced onions now.  Another easy method is to just use a food processor if chopping isn’t your thing.

5) In a fry pan, add some spray oil and cook onions on medium heat until translucent.  Should be around 3-5 minutes.  Set aside once cooked.

6) Cut garlic chives into thin slices.  Put aside.

7) Cut green onions into thin slices.  Put aside.

8) In a large stainless mixing bowl, add ground beef, ground pork, half & half, eggs, salt, black pepper, garlic chives, and grilled onions.   Mix well (I recommend using disposable cooking gloves).

9) Take a small amount of the meatball mix and throw from one hand to another while gently cupping the meatball with the palm of hands to form shape.  Meatballs should be a little bigger than a golf ball.  You should end up with right around 12-16 meatballs.

10) Take out strainer from ‘dashi’ in step 3) and discard bonito flakes. Add Japanese sake to ‘dashi’ and carefully transfer meatballs with a ladle to avoid splashing.

11) Bring heat to medium and cover 7/8 ways to allow evaporation.  Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the meatballs are done.

12) Once meatballs are cooked, add 2 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tsp salt.  Adjust taste with salt (do not add more soy sauce, otherwise, you will start getting a bitter aftertaste).

13) Use a clean ladle to scope out meatballs & soup and place into serving bowl.  Add green onions.  Caution – since this is a very fatty soup, it gets VERY hot. The top layer of fat traps the heat of the soup.  So when serving, make sure you scope soup from bottom, otherwise it will be very hot and oily.

Great job! You just made my mom’s dango soup!  I really hope it creates great memories for you as it did for me!

If you are looking for other great soup ideas, be sure to check out our Recipe Index with over 150+ Asian inspired low-carb/keto recipes!

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keto japanese Meatball (Dango) Soup pin 2

keto japanese Meatball (Dango) Soup cover

Mom's Meatball (Dango) Soup

The BEST Asian Low-Carb/Keto recipe for Japanese Meatball Soup. So flavorful and tasty. Net Carb/Serv 1.75g. Step by step directions with pictures make this recipe so quick and easy.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: japanesemeatball, ketomeatball, ketosoup, koetjapanese, lowcarbsoup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Broth

  • 7 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Bonito Flakes
  • 1 Stalk Green Onion
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Salt

Meatballs

  • 1/2 Whole Onion
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 lb Ground Beef 20 % fat or greater
  • 2 Eggs Eggs
  • 3 tbsp Half & Half
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Stalks Garlic Chives

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
  • In large stove top pot, add 7 cups of water.
  • Add strainer inside stove top pot and place bonito flakes inside. Bring to boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to simmer.
  • Cut 1/2 onion and dice. There are many ways to do this, but the method I use is to make 1 cut perpendicular against the lines of the onions. Then make the same cut on the other side to have 2 flat sides. Cut in thin slices. Turn the onion 90 degrees clockwise and make another set of thin slices. You should you diced onions now. Another easy method is to just use a food processor if chopping isn't your thing.
  • In a fry pan, add some spray oil and cook onions on medium heat until translucent. Should be around 3-5 minutes. Set aside once cooked.
  • Cut garlic chives into thin slices. Put aside.
  • Cut green onions into thin slices. Put aside.
  • In a large stainless mixing bowl, add ground beef, ground pork, half & half, eggs, salt, black pepper, garlic chives, and grilled onions. Mix well (I recommend using disposable cooking gloves).
  • Take a small amount of the meatball mix and throw from one hand to another while gently cupping the meatball with the palm of hands to form shape. Meatballs should be a little bigger than a golf ball. You should end up with right around 12-16 meatballs.
  • Take out strainer from 'dashi' in step 3) and discard bonito flakes. Add Japanese sake to 'dashi' and carefully transfer meatballs with a ladle to avoid splashing.
  • Bring heat to medium and cover 7/8 ways to allow evaporation. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the meatballs are done.
  • Once meatballs are cooked, add 2 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tsp salt. Adjust taste with salt (do not add more soy sauce, otherwise, you will start getting a bitter aftertaste).
  • Use a clean ladle to scope out meatballs & soup and place into serving bowl. Add green onions. Caution - since this is a very fatty soup, it gets VERY hot. The top layer of fat traps the heat of the soup. So when serving, make sure you scope soup from bottom, otherwise it will be very hot and oily.

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