I’m always trying to think outside of the box when it comes to Kirby’s meals and treats to give him a wide variety of flavors and textures. We were at a favorite Chinese buffet the other day when it happened again. There in all its glory was a soup filled with fish balls. I was already taking down notes on my phone since the Kirbster very much loves fish and seafood.
Fish balls are a staple in many Asian homes and a popular street food in Hong Kong. They used to be made by the poor who didn't want to waste whatever scraps of fish they had and are made by pounding rather than grounding so they have a very different texture than our meatballs. A good fish ball should have an elastic (bouncy) and fluffy texture and a strong taste of fish.
The basic ingredients are fish although flour and seasonings can also be used. The proportion of fish and flour depends on the quality and type of fish balls to be made. The white fish balls found in some traditional Hong Kong restaurants are made using only fresh fish and then boiled until done. The street fried fish balls are made using cheap fish and a mixture of flour in order to reduce costs. Since we're going for the healthiest I followed made the restaurant worthy ones, after all nothing but the best for Sir Kirby's discerning taste buds! White fish such as cod or tilapia is recommended but I already had some catfish in the freezer. Since I'm not striving for the perfect bouncy fish ball next time I may use tuna or salmon.
Asian Fish Balls
Nutrition facts: Calories: 26 Calories, 13 Calories from fat Total fat: 1.4g or 2% (0.0g saturated fat, 0.0g trans fat)
- 2 lbs catfish fillets
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon ground eggshell
- Make sure there are no bones and then finely chop the fish. To save fingers I used my Ninja.
- Place in a large bowl and add the seasonings using your hands to thoroughly mix. You can leave out the seasonings or substitute with the seasonings your dog likes. I've gotten to where I use cayenne pepper often because Kirby really likes it. When given a choice he seems to prefer savory and spicy over sweet every time.
- Now gather up the mixture with your hands and "slap it" back down into the bowl. Repeat this several times noting that too little slapping gives mushy balls while too much slapping gives toothy balls. They should be bouncy and springy to the bite which in true asian fashion would take sixty to seventy slaps. However, since this dish is for my dog, I slapped it maybe five or six times!.
- Form into small balls.
- Heat water to boiling in a medium size pot. If you have dog friendly fish stock, that's even better! I'm freezing this leftover fishy water for next time.
- Once the water is boiling drop the balls into the water. They are done when they float to the top. Scoop out onto a plate and let cool.
I froze 6 one cup servings containing 8 balls each. Since Kirby licked up every drop of the "fish flavored water" I added 1/4 cup to each container.