A popular Filipino street food in the Philippines! It’s soft and pillowy, served with fish ball sauce and it’s also delicious with soups or stir-fries.
What are Fish Balls
I think this street food is an iconic street food in the Philippines. I’m sure we all have childhood memories about Fish Balls and late night stories. Fish balls are traditionally sold in mobile wooden carts by street vendors who peddle around the streets or sometimes they will stay on the side of the streets in front of clubs or bars. The balls are deep fried in hot oil until they grow bigger like a mini balloon and turn golden, you then skewer them in wooden sticks known as ‘tusok tusok’ or poke poke, and then dipped in sauces you can choose from sweet, spicy to sweet and sour.
One of my childhood memory for fishballs was when I was living in the Philippines. When the afternoon hits and the sun was low, the street vendors starts putting their stall together and the fishball vendor would pass near our home and he stops near our house. People would gather around his cart waiting for the balls to call and each will have their barbecue stick on hand ready to ‘tusok tusok’ or poke poke the fish balls. I think it was 1 piso for 5 balls on a stick. It was a flat disk and most probably only had 5% fish and flour for the rest but it was stil delicious. I always dip mine into the spicy sauce.
Let’s talk ingredients
Fish – I used Basa fish for this recipe, I have also used mackerel and cod in the past and they turned out really delicious! Normally you would use white meat fish for the texture. If you don’t have a food precessor you can use your knife and chopping board to mince the meat until they turn into paste.
Most of the ingredients are easily accessible from your local grocery shop.
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For the Sauce
In a food processor, add fish and half of the water and blitz the fish until it turns into a paste. Then, add salt, baking powder, onions, garlic, and half of the cornflour. Turn the food processor on low setting for about 1-2 minutes. Next, slowly add the rest of the cornflour and water alternately until it’s finished. Continue mixing them in the food processor for another 2 minutes until all of the ingredients are combined. Take them out of the food processor and place them into a bowl. Leave it on the side for later.
Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring it to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and leave it simmering not boiling.
Using your hand, place some fish paste in your palm and make a fist, squeezing a ball out of the hole between your thumb and index finger. Using a wet spoon scoop the fish ball paste (the ball you just squeezed through your fist) from your hand and gently put it into the simmering water. Do this until all of the fish paste is shaped and in the pot.
Leave the fish balls in the simmering water until they are cooked and floating. If they are not floating yet, gently mix the balls in case they are stuck with each other or at the bottom. Once they are floating, using a strainer, drain the water out and leave the fish balls to cool in the strainer. When they are cooled, you can store them in the freezer or you can deep fry them in hot oil.
In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients making sure that the cornflour is well and truly dissolved. Pour the mixture into a pot and simmer it slowly on low to medium heat while mixing at the same time to avoid any lumps. Once the sauce thickens it’s ready. Turn the heat off and leave it on the side to cool down. Once cooled it’s ready to serve with fishballs.
Heat some oil enough to cover the balls, once the oil is hot turn the heat to medium, slowly put some balls in the oil and cook them until they puff out and golden. You can strain them out or you can use the barbecue sticks to poke them one by one into the stick with desired amount in each stick. Dip them into the sauce (see below) that you made and enjoy!
In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients making sure that the cornflour is well and truly dissolved. Pour the mixture into a pot and simmer it slowly while mixing at the same time to avoid any lumps. Once the sauce thickens it’s ready. Turn the heat off and leave it on the side to cool down. Once cooled it’s ready to serve with fishballs.