~ Spanish Mackerel Rich Broth with Springy Fish Balls ~
Fish paste or fish balls have been my favourite food since young. Whenever my mum made them, she will have both her hands tied and I would be asked to help out to sprinkle the white pepper and salt onto the fish paste. Although I have seen my mum making them, I have never quite picked up the skill. The fact that it requires some extra time in making before I can cook them turns me off. However, the recent many disappointments with fishballs and stuffed vegetables (yong tau fu) have moved me into exploring into this recipe of making my own fish paste.
There are only certain types of fish that have the meat texture for making springy fish paste or fish balls. I tried Spanish Mackerel (also known as Batang Fish), which is the most common type easily available at any supermarket or wet market, which I have conveniently found on the icy top of a fishmonger’s stall during my recent visit to the Ghim Moh market with a friend. The fillets looked reasonably fresh and it is neither too big nor too small a size for me to risk making it. I got lucky when the fishmonger gave me extra bones which I used to cook the fish broth.
Making my own fish paste or fish balls is no longer a hindrance! My first attempt 2 months ago was a disaster as I added too much water and not salt water in a thundering manner. Hence, the fish meat did not stick smoothly together and there was no springy effect at all. With some wise advise from my cousin sister, Josephine, who always make delicious fish & egg paste for us, I finally managed to make some springy fish paste successfully! So, it is a very important step to gradually add salt water into the fish meat to form paste.
These fish paste scooped into balls are best cooked or boiled in it’s fish broth from the scraps as the fish balls further enhance the broths flavour when immersed into the broth. Flavours from the fish paste permeated into the broth makes it so nutritiously packed. As collagens begin to liquefy at the temperature of 60°C to 70°C, you witness it melted into the soup when you sip in rich gelatin-like textured broth, leaving your lips tastefully sticky! When I refrigerated the leftover, the liquid coagulated into gel. The more “jelly” it is, the higher the collagen level. I do not mind this rich broth everyday. All it takes is 30 minutes simmering!
Spanish Mackerel Bones Broth with Springy Fish Balls Recipe (Yield 30 teaspoon size fishballs) :
A. Fish Paste Ingredients
- 300 grams Spanish Mackerel Fillets (skinned & deboned)
- 60ml Salt Water (dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
- 1 Thick Plastic Glove (to hold fish paste)
B. Rich Broth Ingredients
- 4 pieces Spanish Mackerel Bones & 2 pieces Skins
- 2 bulbs Garlic (smashed)
- Thumb size Ginger (sliced 1mm thick)
- 2 small Carrots (cut round)
- 2 tomatoes (wedged)
- 200 grams Spinach (root removed)
- 600ml Water
AMC Healthy Cooking Method :
A. The Making of Fish Paste
- Scrap all fish meat from the fish skins and bones with a tablespoon. Place all fish meat onto a chopping board and mince them with the back of a knife.
- Add white pepper. Mix evenly into the minced fish meat with the knife.
- Add 2 tablespoons of salt water to the minced fish meat to create a non-sticky texture.
- Wear the plastic glove on one hand and hold the knife on the other, pick up the minced fish meat and splat it back onto the chopping board to form fish paste with tiny bubbles that makes it springy when cooked.
- Add the remaining of the salt water gradually whilst repeating step 4 above for about 8-10 times (the more times repeated, the springier the fish paste) or until the fish paste looks glossy and non-sticky.
B. Rich Broth Preparation
- Preheat an AMC 24cm 3.5 litre Pot unit on Navigenio with heat level “3” up to 50°C or “Meat Window” to pan-fry the fish bones and skins. Switch on Audiotherm indicating “Meat Window” for readiness indication.
- When Audiotherm beeps indicating readiness for pan-frying, turn Navigenio heat level “2” and turn off Audiotherm. Add fish bones and skins into Pot unit. Cover pot with and Easy Quick Lid.
- Activate Audiotherm, place on lid knob/Visiotherm, at 50°C or “Meat Window” for “Turning Point” indication.
- When Audiotherm beeps the second time at 90°C indicating “Turning Point”, remove lid and gently flip the bones and skins. Pan-fry up to 90°C again and transfer all bones and skins from the Pot unit to a 20cm Softiera Insert unit.
- Add garlic and ginger to the Pot unit to brown. Place the Softiera Insert unit with bones and skins into the Pot unit. Add water into the Pot unit. Add carrots and tomatoes to the side of Pot unit surrounding the Softiera Insert unit. Cover Pot unit with an Easy Quick Lid.
- Switch on Navigenio to automatic mode “A”. Turn on Audiotherm, place on lid knob, indicating 97°C or “Steam Window” and set on 30 minutes to simmer.
- When Audiotherm beeps, turn off Audiotherm and turn Navigenio to heat level “3”. Remove Softiera Insert unit from pan unit and place it on a plate. Scoop fish paste prepared earlier with a teaspoon forming a roughly round shape and add to the hot broth. Add spinach and simmer for another minute to cook (Repeat step 6 and set for 1 minute).
- When Audiotherm beeps, turn off both Navigenio & Audiotherm. Serve the springy fishballs in broth with any noodles of choice.
- Broths cooked in an AMC Pot with the combination of an Easy Quick Lid on the Navigenio automatic mode are richer faster as it boils more rigorously on a higher heat but maintained at the temperature between 97°C to 99°C. With an Easy Quick Lid used, a 30 minutes simmering is comparable to a 1 hour simmering!
- The “Steam Window” on an Easy Quick Lid Visiotherm on the knob is indicating a temperature of 97°C! It is the point where the Navigenio will turn down it’s heat level automatically when an “A” mode is turned on.
- Do you know that an Easy Quick Lid can be used to cover all 20cm and 24cm Pots and Pans? A single sealing rings to be attached to the lid come in two sizes!