If you’re a regular viewer of these pages you may have come across a post about how to get the best fish balls in Hong Kong. Well, no worries if you missed it because here is an actual recipe for that popular street snack – and it’s incredibly easy.
Now being an “artisan” suggests that I should make you construct these fish spheres from scratch but alas no! I am going easy on you lot for once. Get yourself down to your local Asian supermarket and stick your head in the freezer section. You’re looking for fried fish balls – a pack of which kind of resembles the egglet we had at Oddies.
One pack is ideal for two to share and mine only set me back £3.50 which isn’t bad at all. These were going to be a secondary dish to my mighty Sous-Vide Pork Buns in a final feast before diet and fitness got very real in my house.
The only negative that I could find about the fish balls were that there were no clear cooking instructions, just illustrations. One seemed to indicate that you could stick them in a deep fat fryer – hmmm, double fried fish balls, there’s an idea – or you could do what I imagine that they do in Hong Kong and whack it in a big wok full of curry sauce. I swayed towards that.
This is actually a really good dish to make in a hurry or when you’ve just come in from work and want something easy, tasty and a little different. Pour 300ml of water into a wok and bring to the boil over full heat. Add in around 2 tbsp of curry paste, ideally Chinese but the nearest I got was rendang.
Once the curry paste has dissolved into the water add in a tablespoon of light soy sauce to enhance the flavour. Drop the fish balls into the water and cook over a medium-high heat. What happens next is truly amazing…
Yes, they actually puff up like ping pong balls. From the heavy, dense mixture in the freezer packet there lies within a light fish texture. I was really happy with the experiment so far, the smell took me all the way back to the corner of Pitt Street where I first dug into these beauties slathered in hoisin sauce.
The best way to test if the fish balls are cooked is to cut one in half and feel the centre, it should be piping hot. If not just cook for a little longer, topping up the water if you need to. I allowed mine to simmer down to almost an intense glaze which looked inviting. All that’s needed to serve them is a few chopped spring onions and a good helping of hoisin sauce.
I’m so glad that I found these. Of course nothing beats standing on the street side in Hong Kong munching away on these but to save you the airfare this way does make for a good plan B. The flavour from the rendang paste is subtle, in many ways very similar to the Chinese curry flavour. Hoisin is my favourite Chinese condiment and in an ideal world I would have it with everything – with these it’s absolute perfection.