This popular southern Chinese treat demonstrates how Chinese cooks are masters at creating something marvellous out of (apparently) almost nothing. In this case, leftover fish fillets are blended to a soft purée, and seasonings and egg whites are added. The mixture is then quickly fried and sliced, or it is rolled into round cakes and poached. The cake can be made ahead of time and then stir-fried with vegetables, or sliced into pieces and added to soups.
It is not surprising to see that these favourites were common foods in Chinese—American homes. Fish cakes were available in our local Chinese grocers, but my mother always made her own. It was cheaper to do so and avoided the msg that the store-bought versions sometimes contained. She would pan-fry the fish cakes, slice them thinly and then stir-fry them with fresh bean sprouts. It made a light and delicious dish at our dinner table.
Remove any skin from the fish fillets and cut them into small pieces. Blend with the egg white, cornflour, spring onions, ginger, salt, pepper, rice wine and water in a food processor until you have a fine paste.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is hot and pour in the oil. Form the paste into cakes
Reheat the wok with the oil and, when it is hot, toss in the garlic, ginger and onions. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Then toss in the bean sprouts and
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.