Making Smooth and Spongy Fish Balls

IMG_1434Fish balls have been one of our family’s favorite food. I use them very often when I cook. Even if we dine out, we often order fish balls for lunch or dinner. Years ago, I didn’t like eating fish balls. I used to prefer meat balls (from beef) and I could eat meat balls almost everyday when I was younger. Then suddenly, I began to like fish balls (I didn’t know how it happened, I just liked fish balls accidentally). It was good though since fish balls are healthier option to eat than meat balls. Then again, I can never find good and delicious meat balls in here, so fish balls are good substitutes for meatballs.

I usually bought packet of fish balls in the supermarket when I want to cook them at home. If I don’t know what to cook, just take some fish balls from the fridge, cook them with my ready to use chicken broth (I make chicken broth weekly and store them in small plastic bags in the freezer), add fried shallots and minced celery, and voila…………….breakfast/lunch/dinner is ready with hot steam rice or noodle or bee hoon. I also add fish balls to fried rice, fried noodle or fried bee hoon, or make a quick dish by stir frying the vegetables (any kind of vegetables) with fish balls.

So as you can see, I use the fish balls very often for my cooking, but then I was shocked when I read carefully into what ingredients are used in most store-bought fish balls. They contain MSG, preservatives, and other things that I don’t even know what they are. So I started bought fish balls that contains no MSG and preservatives, but again, the taste was not really good. Store-bought fish balls which are usually quite cheap contain only small percentage of fish and mostly are probably flour / starch. We can hardly taste the fish in the store-bought fish balls. So when I found a very easy way of making homemade fish balls, I was eager to give it a try. It is indeed very easy and I can guarantee that the fish balls contains more than 90% of real fish.

I am satisfy with my homemade fish balls, and I already made them twice at home. The second time was easier since I already knew the trick of making fish balls.



  1. 400 gr tengiri / mackerel fish fillet ( scrape until all meat is off the skin and discard the skin. Scrape off the fish meat off the fish bone too). Squeeze with 2 tbsp of lime juice
  2. 1 egg white
  3. 1 tbsp grind garlic
  4. 2 tsp salt
  5. 4 tsp cold water
  6. 2 tbsp corn starch
  7. 1 bowl of cold water to soak the fish balls


  1. Put the fish into the food processor and process until the flesh is breaking apart and develop a slightly sticky consistency fish meat. Turn off the food processor
  2. Add egg white, garlic, water, and 4 tbsp of cold water
  3. Process again until they evenly mixed and become fish paste
  4. Take the fish paste from the food processor and put it in a large bowl

    If you don’t have food processor, use chopping board and a sharp knife to chop the fish meat. You can also use blender, but you need to blend in small amount for 2 or 3 times in order for the blender to work properly
  5. Add 2 tbsp of corn starch into the bowl and knead with your hands until well combined. Wet your hands and apply with a little bit of water before kneading the fish paste so it won’t stick to your hands
  6. Now for the most important part, we will begin the throwing / slamming process. Repeatedly pound the fish paste onto the bowl for about 15 times. This is the key to making springy or bouncy fish balls. The texture of the fish paste should become smooth and soft and not sticky

    Fish Paste
    Throw and slam the fish paste into the bowl for several times
  7. Take a spoonful of fish paste, roll with your 2 hands until it makes a round and smooth ball. Place all the balls in a bowl fill with cold water and put the bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes

    Smooth balls in the cold water
  8. Boil water in a large pot
  9. Using medium heat, drop the fish balls and wait until they float. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes

    I added 1 thumb of ginger (sliced) into the water to reduce the fishy smell in my fish balls
  10. Turn off the heat and take out all the fish balls

    Look at the texture inside the fish balls: it’s spongy just like store-bought fish balls
  11. Storage: wait until the fish balls are cool enough and put them in a Ziploc bag or plastic bag or lunch box in the freezer
  12. You can use the fish balls to make fish balls soup, fried rice, fried noodle, or cook with stir fry vegetables IMG_1431

In regards to the throwing of the fish paste, I’ve read people throw 10 times to 70 times. Well, it all comes down to personal preference. Too little slapping gives you mushy balls, but too much slapping gives you tough / toothy balls. To check, it should wobble a bit when poked. Since I like soft balls, I only did the slamming process 15 times. Maybe next time I’ll try making more bouncy fish balls and do more throwing.

I used big and deep bowl to make the slamming process easier. Most people do the slamming process in the chopping board which can result in the “flying fish bits” and end up with you cleaning up the “whole kitchen” and yourself. By using big bowl, I can keep my kitchen and my clothes clean when making fish balls. So, that was my tip of making fish balls while keeping your kitchen free from fish bits.

Happy cooking and happy washing (seriously, there were many cooking equipment that I had to wash after making these balls).


After I tried for several times, slamming the fish for 10 to 70 times, I found the perfect recipe for myself. It is absolutely depends on your preference, but for me it goes like this: knead for 2 to 3 minutes, slam for 50 times, knead again for another 2 to 3 minutes, then follow steps 7 and so on. In my opinion, this result of the process is a very nice structure of fishballs and I’ve been using this method for other ingredients too like chicken, salmon, white fish and shrimps altogether, etc.

Homemade fishballs are absolutely much better than the ones in the supermarkets

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