Fish Balls

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    15 to 20

    balls .

Appears in

Chinese Technique

By Ken Hom

Published 1981

  • About

These light dumplings are like a Chinese gefilte fish. They cook quickly, so remove them from the water as soon as they float. If you are reheating them, say, in a soup, put them in just long enough to heat through. They can be made several hours ahead and kept refrigerated until you are ready to use them. The Chinese form balls by squeezing the mixture through the fist, then scooping it with a spoon to ensure equal-sized balls.




  1. Prepare a pot of simmering water and a bowl of ice water. Set them side by side near the bowl of fish paste.

  2. With wet hands, form a handful (3 tablespoons) of the paste into a fat cylinder. Plunge your hands into the ice water after forming each cylinder. If your hands are cool, the paste will be easier to manage.

  3. Squeeze the cylinder until it extrudes between the thumb and first finger to form a ball. You can use a spoon to help form the ball and scoop it off. This makes the fish balls lighter in texture than they would be if you rolled them between the palms. Repeat the process until enough fish balls are formed.

  4. Drop the fish balls into the simmering water. When they float to the surface, remove them with a skimmer or a strainer. Do a dozen or so at a time as you form more.

  • The fish balls can be prepared ahead and reheated in broth just before serving.
  • Suggested Beverage: Light, dry generic white wine