By Calvin Eng Adapted by Cathy Erway
These fish balls were inspired by the whole, deboned, and stuffed fish at Bonnie’s, a Cantonese restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The latter dish was created by its chef, Calvin Eng, whose family makes it on special occasions. The same ground fish mixture it’s stuffed with was deep-fried in patties for a temporary takeout menu item. Here, a slightly simplified version of that mixture is formed into balls to deep-fry and serve as a snack. Instead of frying, you can also drop these balls into boiling water and serve them with a clear broth for a delicious soup, with a few snips of chopped scallions as garnish.
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until well pureed, stopping to scrape down the mixture. Mixture can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 days before using.
- Heat enough neutral oil in a small pot to just submerge a 2-inch ball. Form the paste by hand into roughly 1½–2-inch-diameter balls. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the oil, deep-fry until golden brown all over, about 4 minutes. Let drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt or serve with an optional dipping sauce of your choice.
Cathy Erway is the author of the cookbooks The Food of Taiwan and Sheet Pan Chicken, and the memoir The Art of Eating In. She co-wrote Win Son Presents: A Taiwanese American Cookbook. She hosts the podcast Self Evident, exploring Asian American stories. She has won a James Beard Award and IACP award for her writing at TASTE.