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Fuzhou Fish Balls, 鱼丸
A treasured dish from Fuzhou
There are few dishes that remind me of home cooking, as much as a good home-made Fuzhou fish ball. You can use different types of fish, but the common distinctive element is a hidden pork filling inside. In my opinion, biting into a fish ball that bursts with juices is what makes Fuzhou fish balls the best kind of fishball! You will also notice that this recipe will taste noticeably different from store-bought or restaurant fishballs. By using all fresh fish without cheap fillers, these fish balls will have a richer and deeper taste.
3 lb ground king fish mackerel (马鮫)
You can also use other white meat fish such as flounder
1/2 lb cornstarch
In the old country, we used sweet potato starch
1 egg white
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 lb ground pork
Kitchen Aid mixer
you can also buy a meat grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid
This recipe can be a relatively lengthy process, so we recommend making a big batch and freezing the fish balls until you plan to eat them. We usually buy 3-6 lb of king mackerel and make multiple batches.
Start by scaling the fish, removing the guts, separating the meat from skin, and removing all bones. We usually do this ourselves, but you can ask the grocery store to help you with that.
Be extra careful to remove all bones. Noone likes to bite into a fishball and get stabbed with a bone.
You don’t need to be careful about preserving the shape of the fish fillet, because we’ll just throw it into a meat grinder to make ground fish. In this picture we use the Kitchen-Aid meat grinder accessory.
Measure out 3 lb the ground fish to start with and put it in a mixing bowl.
Add 3 tsp of salt (1 tsp for each pound of fish)
Now add 2.4 lb of fresh water (0.8 lb water per 1 lb of ground fish).
Initially mix the water into the ground fish by hand.
Now place the fish mixture into a Kitchen Aid mixer and let it mix for 30 minutes at medium speed.
After 30 minutes of mixing, add an egg white.
Put the bowl back into the Kitchen Aid mixer and mix for another 30 minutes.
While it’s mixing, begin preparing the meat filling.
Add 1 tsp of soy sauce to the ground pork.
Add 1 tsp of sugar to the ground pork and mix well.
Form little meatballs in preparation (approximately 1 inch in diameter).
While this recipe calls for 1 hour of mixing, if you have the time, we recommend mixing the fish mixture for as long as time allows. We want the batter to be as smooth and fluffy as possible.
The mixture is ready when the color is off-white, instead of pink.
How can we be sure that the mixing is complete? Try placing a small ball of the fish mixture into a bowl of water. The fish ball should be so buoyant that it rises halfway above the water. Notice in the following picture that 80% of the fishball is below the water line, which means that the fish paste requires more mixing.
When the fish mixture is done mixing, add in 1/2 lb corn starch and mix briefly for another 30 seconds. If you like the texture of a firmer fish ball, you can add more corn starch.
Now the hard part: rolling the balls. Place a small amount of the fish mixture into your hand and flatten. Place one pork ball in the middle of the mixture. Then slowly close your hand and allow the fish ball to roll out between your thumb and index finger.
For a video of the process, see here
Place the completed fish ball into a pot of cold water. Continue creating fish balls until the pot is filled with one layer of floating fish balls. Do not layer fishballs on top of each other, as they aren’t firm yet. They should sit in the pot with enough space to not touch each other while cooking. Note that the fish balls will expand in size during cooking.
Place the pot onto a stove and boil. The fish balls should begin to float, but continue boiling until the fish balls stop revolving and wiggling in place.
Periodically remove the white film from the top of the soup.
If absolutely necessary, cut open a single ball and look for white spots, which indicates uncooked fish paste.
Once completed, the water is now a delicious fish broth. Do not discard this water! Add salt to the soup to taste. When you’re ready to serve, scoop the fish balls and soup into a bowl. We usually let the person eating season with white pepper and white vinegar to the desired taste.
And finally…. a megaball!
Don’t try this at home (because it doesn’t actually taste that good).
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