Third post and we are back to jelly. But to break things up a little, this time I’m going savoury! You have to hear me out on this one…
I have decided to take this traditional Polish recipe for fish in jelly and give it a more exotic twist with an Asian masterstock! One of the reasons for mixing up the jelly recipe a little bit was obviously flavour, the other the fact that in many Asian cultures poached fish balls are an everyday staple and I was quite sure the combination of juicy poached fish balls would prove irresistible to many when combined with the flavours of the masterstock.
Before you dismiss the idea altogether, I want you to know that the 5 ingredient fish ball mince is perfect for fish burgers or even thai fish cakes if you add some curry paste to the mix. To be honest, I always make sure to have some leftover mince for a juicy burger…
It is a simple 5 ingredient concoction, easily thrown together and quite tasty on its own. Once formed, the balls are poached gently in a flavorful Chinese masterstock, permeating with the saltiness of soy sauce, zestiness of ginger and coriander root and sweetness from brown sugar, star anise, cardamom and cinnamon. Best of all you are avoiding all the nasty additives that are commonly found in pre-packaged fish balls, and there are a few I’ve checked. You could just as easily poach them in vegetable stock too, and freeze them for use at a later date in laksa, combination noodle soup or even in a vegetable soup instead of chicken.
The master stock is then strained to produce a rich, dark brown but clear broth. As the dish is served cold the flavours need to be a little more intense than they would be in a warm broth. Now the amazing part happens when you taste the first bite. The master stock flavour is encapsulated in the jelly and as the jelly begins to melt, the flavours begin to dance in your mouth. Combined with the sweetness of the fish and a little kick from wasabi served on the side it is one of my favourite (weird but oh so good) food combinations!
The Polish version is my ultimate coming home food when I’m visiting family, I can eat this for days but I think I might have uncovered a new favourite. Yuuuuum!
Don’t forget, each comment on the Royal Selangor Get Your Jelly On challenge posts on my blog (Day 1, Day 2, etc) is your entry to win an Olympus VG-110 camera. Giveaway is open worldwide! Entries close October 30, midnight AEST. Winner will be announced on the blog on October 31.
Makes 2 serves (20 balls)
5 ingredient fish balls in Chinese masterstock jelly
To make fish balls for every day use you could simply poach them in vegetable stock, and freeze them for use at a later date in laksa, combination noodle soup or even in a vegetable soup instead of chicken. Or shape into patties, dip into breadcrumbs and fry for yummy wholesome fish burgers!
For the fish ball mixture:
- 250g sea perch fillets // or other white fish
- 40g day old bread (I used some hamburger bun)
- 1/3 cup milk // or other non-dairy milk substitute
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 medium onion
For the masterstock:
- 2 cups salt reduced chicken stock
- 40g coriander roots, smashed
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 knob of ginger (5cm), sliced
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 2 star anise
- 3 cardamom pods, smashed
For the masterstock jelly:
- 1.5 cups (375ml) masterstock from the above recipe
- 1 tbsp gelatine
Tip: put the masterstock on the boil while you prepare the fish mince mixture.
To make the masterstock: place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook stock for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
To make the fish balls: place bread and milk into a bowl and allow it to soak up the milk. Dice onion finely and cook down in a small frypan until slightly translucent. Set aside to cool down a little.
Cut fish into small chunks and place in a bowl of a food processor (I used my Braun’s stick blender’s chopping attachment), Process, shaking and agitating the fish unti it is well minced and resembles a uniform paste.
Drain any excess milk from the bread – it should be soggy but not dripping. Place into the food processor along with the cooked onion and white pepper. Process until the mixture is combined.
To shape the fishballs: Take about a tablespoon of mixture and roll in your hands to form a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture until you have 20 balls. Use leftover mince to make burgers or by all means feel free to cook them all in masterstock and freeze. Tip: wear surgical or latex gloves when rolling the mince – no messy hands!
To cook the fishballs: pop 5 fish balls at a time into the simmering stock, cook for about 4-5 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. They should be juicy and soft but cooked through (opaque in colour in the middle).
To make the masterstock jelly: drain the masterstock with a cheesecloth-lined sieve. You should have about 1.5 cups. Add gelatine and mix until it has melted.
To assemble: place moulds, upside down, into sturdy mugs. Fill with fish balls, distributing them quite evenly and working around the walls of the mould. Top with masterstock and gelatine broth. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or overnight.
To serve: place jelly mould into a mu full of hot water for a few seconds for the jelly to release. Position your serving plate on top of the mould, turn both upside down and remove the mould. Serve with some fresh or creamed horseradish or wasabi.