Now where do the tantalising fish balls 魚丸 or 鱼圆 in your Sarikei home cooking come from? Well, they are made from ikan tenggiri, a fish from the South China Sea that is sold in the Sarikei fish market. Firstly slice the fish into half across the length of the fish. Then use a spoon to scrap the meat off the bone and put inside a pounder. Now pound it furiously.
The fishballs in Asia are different in texture from the European versions because ours is pounded while those in Europe are grinded (as in minced meat passing through a grinder). Pounding uncoils and stretches the tangled protein strands in the fish meat and hence the Asian version is smoother in texture.
Now mix the pulverised (ie crashed) fish meat with some flour and seasoning and you are ready to cook them in your steamboat soup. Throw in some tang hoong glass noodle, black wooden ear 木耳 fungus , mushrooms, vegetables and voila, you have an absolutely delicious soup. The home made fishballs have lots of fish meat compared to those found in hawker centres which have more flour than meat.
Apparently, there's a version of Foochow fish ball with pork fillings. Does anyone have any idea on this?
If you don't fancy fishballs in soup, you can pan fry the fish paste (mixed with shallots) into fish fritters that look like punctured fishballs. Bon appetit!