Fishballs are small balls made with fish paste and seasoning which is usually boiled or deep-fried. This snack is an Asian cuisine which originated from China. How these balls are made were modified through time in simpler versions. In the Philippines, fishballs is a popular type of deep-fried streetfood which is cheap and chewy, and comes with a fishball sauce. It is commonly eaten as a merienda or snack.
HOMEMADE FISHBALLS WITH SAUCE
My family and I were a big fan of Chinese cuisine. We have been experimenting creating dimsums and other snacks. Some of my favorites were the Chinese kikiam and the bean curd rolls. As the commercially available fishballs were already processed, the fish flavor from these modern fishballs are lessened and is very subtle. This made me want to make my homemade version of Chinese fishballs which will be made with real fish meat, unlike the processed ones which were mostly made of flour.
I made my very first traditional fishballs during the time I was learning to debone different types of meat. I applied the skills of deboning to the fish and practiced with the fish used in making the fishballs. In my version, I used galunggong because that was the only fish available during that time. Galunggong is easy to handle since it was a medium-sized fish and its bone structure is not complicated. A piece of reminder not to use bangus in making fishballs unless you obtained a filleted one.
I have been cooking veggie balls for a lot of time so preparing the fishball batter is very familiar to me. Frying the balls may take you some time but the traditionally prepared fishballs with real fish meat is definitely worth to prepare.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE FISHBALLS WITH SAUCE
In making fishballs, you can use any fish you like. You can also use a mix of fish variety. It is advisable to use medium to large fish types for easy deboning and filleting. In preparing the fish, make sure that there is no bones left. Feel the fish bones using your fingertips and remove them. You can use tweezers for easier fish bone removal. Remove the skin of the fish and place the flesh in a separate bowl. If you want to skip this part, you may use a pre-fillet fish available in the market. Chop the fish meat into very small pieces, almost minced. Cook the fish meat through steaming for 10 minutes. The steaming process is used to retain the fish flavor as it cooks. The fish meat is cooked once it turned white. Mash the fish using a spoon to transform them into a paste-like texture. Set it aside and let it cool.
The next thing to prepare is the fishball batter. In a large mixing bowl, place your steamed fish paste, grated carrots, spring onions, chopped onions, and chopped garlic. Mix it well and taste the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Now, add the sugar, cornstarch, flour and water. Add the water gradually to control the consistency of the mixture. Blend the ingredients well until you achieve a paste-like mixture. When done, add the baking powder and mix well.
You may now start frying the fishballs. Heat a pan and pour a lot of oil for deep frying. Form the fishball batter into a ball using two spoons. Create small balls to ensure that the middle part of the ball will be cooked thoroughly. Fry the balls into the hot oil until it turns golden brown. You can fry the balls in batches but make sure to give them enough space to fry so that they would not stick with each other. When done, transfer the freshly-cooked fishballs into a strainer or in a tissue paper to drain the excess oil. If the cooked fishballs are for selling purposes, you can place the balls in a stick.
To further enhance the taste of the fishballs, these balls are dipped in the fishball sauce. The fishball sauce is a sweet and salty sauce with a thick consistency. The sauce is made by mixing water, brown sugar, soy sauce, cassava flour or cornstarch, onion, garlic and seasonings in a large saucepan. Stir to blend the ingredients. Make sure that the flour or cornstarch is completely dissolve in the mixture before turning on the heat. Unless you want some random granules of flour floating in the sauce. No one wants that. Boil the mixture until the sauce thickens. Continuously stir the sauce to prevent the bottom part from burning. You may prepare a separate spicy sauce by adding a piece of chili into the sauce.
Place the fishballs in a serving plate with the sauce in a separate bowl. Dip these tasty fishballs into the sauce and enjoy eating.
Homemade Fishball with Fishball Sauce
- For the fishballs:
½ kilo fish (galunggong)
¾ cup cornstarch
½ cup all-purpose flour
onion and garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon spring onions
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt to taste
2 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup water
¼ cup carrots, grated (optional)
- For the fishball sauce:
2 cups water
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cassava flour or cornstarch
1 chili (optional)
Onion and garlic, chopped
Salt to taste
- For the fishballs:
- Wash and remove the scales of the fish. Fillet to separate the fish meat and discard the bones. You can use other kinds of fish or buy a pre-fillet fish to skip this part. Scrape the flesh of the fish and remove the skin. Chop the flesh into tiny pieces. Steam the fish for at least 10 minutes or until the flesh turns white. Set aside. Let it cool.
- For the fishball batter, add the steamed fish, grated carrots, spring onions, chopped onions, chopped garlic in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Add sugar, cornstarch, flour and water. Mix well until pasty texture. Add the baking powder. Mix well to blend.
- Using two spoons, form the mixture into a ball. Drop straight on to a pre-heated oil. Make sure that the oil is pre-heated before putting the mixture. Use low to medium heat to avoid burning the fishballs. Put a gap between the fishballs to prevent them from sticking together. Fry until golden brown. Once cooked, put in a strainer or paper towels to remove excess oil. If you are going to sell the fishballs, skew the fishballs in bamboo sticks.
- For the fishball sauce:
- In a large sauce pan, add the water, sugar, soy sauce, onion, garlic, chili, salt and cassava flour. Mix until dissolved.
- Once dissolved, turn on the heat and let it boil. Stir continuously to prevent from sticking. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the sauce thickens.