The fish balls in this fish balls and noodle soup are homemade. With a food processor. The authentic way to make them is to mince the fish with a cleaver, mix it with binders and vegetables then knead and throw handfuls of the mixture against the inside of a bowl to achieve the perfect texture. While I’m sure that there is a huge amount of satisfaction in making fish balls the traditional way, I have neither the time nor the skill. So, I used a food processor.
The best fish for making fish balls is a firm and fleshy variety — snapper, grouper, trevally and surgeonfish are good choices. And the fish must be fresh. I used cream dory which had been frozen and thawed, and my fish balls were softer than I would have wanted. On hindsight, I should have used a freshly filleted fish that had not seen the inside of a freezer.
The fish and vegetables go into the food processor. Then, the binders — egg whites and cornstarch — are added through the funnel while the food processor continues to do its work.
The fish paste is dropped into boiling broth. It takes less than a minute to cook the fish balls.
Once the fish balls are cooked, it’s time to assemble the fish balls and noodle soup.
- fish broth, about 6 c. (see how to make fish stock)
- 300 g. of fish fillet
- ¼ c. of chopped scallions
- ¼ c. of diced carrot
- a small piece of ginger, about half an inch
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 tbsp. of tapioca starch dispersed in 1 tbsp. of water
- 1 tsp. of salt
- ½ tsp. of pepper
- To assemble the noodle soup:
- cooked egg noodles for two to three persons
- 4 to 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced, then blanched
- sliced and blanched carrot
- blanched Chinese cabbage (bok choy, pak choi, wombok or whatever variety you prefer)
- Start heating the broth.
- Cut the fish into small pieces. Do the same with the scallions and carrot. Thinly slice the ginger.
- Put the fish, salt, pepper, ginger, scallions and carrot into the food processor. Process at the highest setting for about 30 seconds. Pour in the egg white and starch solution through the funnel with the motor running. Continue processing for another minute. The mixture should be a thick paste, not pourable.
- When the broth is boiling, drop in the fish paste by teaspoonful. Cook in batches so that the broth remains boiling. Cook the fish balls for about 30 to 45 seconds, depending on how large they are. Stir the broth gently to roll the fish balls while cooking. Again depending on how large your fish balls are, the amount of ingredients given above should yield anywhere from 12 to 15 fish balls.
- Scoop out the fish balls. Strain the broth.
- To make the fish balls noodle soup, place the cooked egg noodles in bowls. Add a few pieces of the fish balls, the blanched Chinese cabbage, carrot and mushrooms, then pour in hot broth.