If you had the balls to attend our Let’s Get Ballsy fish ball workshop in partnership with Choose Right Today, you would have tasted Gitone chef David Chan’s delicious fish ball noodle soup, with fish balls made from sustainably sourced Pangasius fillets from Fish Monk.
The hard truth behind our bouncy favourite snack is that not all fish balls are equal – while they’re easy to find at the supermarket and on Hong Kong streets, many processed varieties are high in sodium and contain hidden substances such as MSG (and even pork or lard in some cases!). It’s important to know what fish goes into your fish balls and where this fish comes from. Using sustainable seafood to make your favourite balls is not only choosing right for our environment but is also choosing right for our own health and our loved ones’ continued access to seafood in the not-so-distant future.
Chef David Chan demonstrating how to prepare fish ball noodles at our recent fish ball workshop
The best way to be assured of what you are eating in your fish balls is to make your own. We promise it’s not that difficult, so give it a go!
Part 1: Chinese-style fish balls
Makes: 40 fish balls
- 1kg frozen Pangasius fillets from Fish Monk
- 2 egg whites
- 200mL ice water
- sprinkle of black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp chicken powder
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- Defrost and wash fish fillets.
- Place fillets in a food processor and blend until the mixture has the consistency of a paste.
- Place the blended mixture into a large bowl. Add the egg whites, ice water, pepper, salt and chicken powder. Mix together with your hands until fully combined into a paste.
- In a small bowl, add a little water to the cornflour – just enough for the mixture to turn into liquid form. Add this cornflour mixture into the fish paste and knead with your hands until well combined.
- Shape the paste into balls using your hands.
- Set aside the raw fish balls.
Editor’s note: unused portions can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Raw fish paste shaped into balls
Part 2: Fish balls with flat rice noodles and soup
Serves: 1 (adjust recipe according to party size and appetite)
- 4–5 fish balls (as prepared above)
- 1 bowl flat rice noodles
- 2–3L water
- few slices ginger
- 3–5 pieces dried scallop (conpoy, 元貝) from Japanese or Chinese scallop farms*
- salt, to taste
- fried garlic (optional)
- chopped shallot (optional)
- To make the soup, boil the dried scallop and ginger in about 1L water and leave the mixture to simmer for 1 hour. Add salt to taste, then set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil, put in the fish balls and lower to medium heat. Let the balls simmer for about 6 min, or until they turn from pink to opaque and float to the top.
- Cook the rice noodles separately in another pot of boiling water.
- Put the cooked noodles into a bowl, together with the fish balls, and pour over the soup.
- Serve the dish with fried garlic and chopped shallot.
*Editor’s note: although the classic soup recipe uses dried shrimp, we recommend dried scallop as an alternative because shrimp are usually, if not always, caught by destructive fishing methods (i.e., bottom trawling) that negatively impact marine ecosystems. Shrimp can be farmed, but most shrimp farms are poorly managed; the addition of antibiotics and chemicals to shrimp ponds also pollutes the surrounding environment. So choose scallops from Japanese or Chinese scallop farms for a healthy and yummy soup – or go with chicken broth or vegetables alone!
A tasting portion of sustainable fish ball noodles – good for the ocean as well as your taste buds!