Growing up in Hong Kong, we had no lack of delicious street food to indulge. Due to strict rules and licensing, a lot of street food carts and vendors got shut down over the years but the classic dishes would never be forgotten. One of Hong Kong’s street food staple is Curry Fish Balls.
Fish balls are really common in the Far East. If you are wondering, they are made from the flesh of fish that’s being shredded and pounded into a paste, then mixed with flour and seasonings (though you’d want less flour and more actual fish), and shaped into little balls. The sizes vary from regions or type of dish you’re making. For street food style, it’s normally as big as a ping-pong ball and is served on a bamboo skewer smothered with curry sauce. Another favourite of mine is to serve them in noodle soup.
Those two are the most typical ways of serving fish balls and they are both most certainly a Cantonese staple. A good fish ball is all about that bouncy and al dente texture. Now I that I live in London, I can still easily have access to fish balls as they are readily available in frozen packs at oriental supermarkets. I quite regularly have them stocked up in my freezer as it’s just a great addition to add as a noodle soup topping.
Frozen Fish Balls
As mentioned, you can easily access frozen fish balls at oriental supermarkets. You might see two different types of fishballs – one yellow and one in white. The difference between the two is simply that one has been fried and the other plainly steamed. The yellow ones are the fried ones and the white ones are steamed.
My own personal preference for this particular street food style curry fish balls recipe would be using the fried fish balls as it creates this extra layer of flavour to it. But it really doesn’t matter which one you use for the recipe. Both works just fine.
Street Food Style Curry Sauce
This is no ordinary curry sauce. Instead, it is a sauce with deep flavours made with curry powder, hoisin sauce, and oyster sauce. You still get that robust touch from the more traditional curry flavours but also a deep sweet taste from the hoisin sauce and sugar.
I’ve kept my curry sauce quite thick here. Typically on the streets, the sauce is more liquid, hence sometimes the lighter colour. It’s completely up to your own preferences. Simply add more water to it if you want it less thick.
Hong Kong Street Food Style Curry Fish Balls Recipe
- 200 g Frozen Fish Balls
- ½ large Red Onion very finely chopped
- 1 tsp Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- 3 tbsp Curry Powder
- 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
- 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Water
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- Scallions chopped, for garnish
- In a large pan, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Cook onions for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add garlic paste, ginger paste, and red chilli flakes. Saute for another 5 minutes.
- Stir in curry powder, hoisin sauce, and oyster sauce. Season with salt and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Toss in the fish balls. Saute for a few minutes. Then stir in ½ cup water and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced and the oil begins to separate.
- Add the remaining water bit by bit accordingly if it gets too dry and to reach your desired consistency.
- Garnish with scallions if using and serve immediately.
- It’s entirely up to you to first defrost the frozen fish balls or not. The recipe works fine if you cook the fish balls directly from frozen.
- I used fried fish balls (yellow in colour), but steamed ones (white) are just fine as well.
- Adjust the amount of water accordingly to your desired consistency. This recipe makes a pretty thick sauce. Add more water if you prefer it to be more liquid.
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