I always discourage grandparents (from the old skool) not to feed their grandchildren fish balls because it has almost no nutritional values but instead lots of salt, MSG and preservatives. Moreover, fish balls are choking hazards so always cut them into small pieces before giving it to children.
However, making our own fish balls at home is not only easy, it is fun. More like playing play doughs. What you need is a slab of fresh fish fillets. The easiest fish to use is mackerel or ikan tenggiri. It has little to none fishy smell and we can easily buy them in big slabs. Otherwise, if you go to wet markets, you can ask the fish mongers for the best fish to make fish balls.
You need a ceramic Chinese soup spoon or any blunt spoon to scrap off the flesh of the fish. Make a little bowl of water flavored with half a teaspoon of salt and pepper. About four tablespoons will do for 300 grams of fish.
Using the spoon, scrap off the flesh. You may want to asked the fishmonger to remove the bones so that all you have is just flesh and skin. The purpose of scrapping the flesh off is because in there, there are still tough ligaments and I suppose muscles.
Now, just add two tablespoons of cornflour and that bowl of water and mince the flesh in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, just chopped them with your cleaver. Then, only add the flour and water.
Here comes the fun part, doink doink….. To make fish balls springy and full of ‘doink doink’, put the blob of minced fish meat into a large bowl. Get another bowl of water on standby. When our palms are wet, the fish flesh will not stick to our palms, making it easier to handle. Take that blob of mushy stuff and throw it against your bowl’s side. Keep doing it, slapping and hitting the blob until it is shiny and firm. Keep wetting your palms if you have to.
Now that you have the fish paste….You can roll them into marble sizes balls and drop it into your soup. You can spread it too on soyabean skin if you want to (available in supermarkets dry foods section) and deep fry them. Or you can stuff these into vegetables like okra, bitter gourd and taufoo pok to make yong tau foo. The possibilities are endless…