Pic - Kris Kirkham

Ingredients

400 g skinless, boneless Spanish mackerel fillets (swap: monkfish cheeks)

100 g raw, peeled and deveined prawns (shrimp)

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

1 egg white

2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)

1 teaspoon fish sauce

20 ml (¾fl oz) water

The curry sauce

2 cloves of garlic

2 large fresh red chillies

10 fresh curry leaves

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

100 g finely diced onion

500 ml chicken stock

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch), mixed with 3 tablespoons water

The curry paste

1 tablespoon Madras curry powder

¼ teaspoon chilli powder

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons coconut milk

Method

For best results, use an electric mixer with the k-mixer attachment. 

If you don’t have a mixer, you can use a food processor. 

Slice the fish into small pieces, and bash the prawns (shrimp) with a cleaver. Put both into the mixer. Start the mixer on a low speed and mix well for one–two minutes. 

Then add the rest of the fish ball mix ingredients and turn the speed up to medium.

Once all the ingredients are well mixed, turn up to high for two minutes, until a smooth paste has formed. 

To make the fish balls, bring a large saucepan, three-quarters filled with water, to the boil. 

Have a small bowl of cold water nearby. 

Dip your hands into the cold water, then make one ball at a time with the fish mixture and drop them straight into the boiling water as they are made. 

Once the fish balls float to the top of the water, they are ready either to cool, freeze and reheat another time, or to set aside for later in the recipe.

To make the curry sauce, finely chop the garlic, red chillies and onions and pick the fresh curry leaves. 

Mix together all of the curry paste ingredients until they form a smooth paste. 

Now build your wok clock: place the garlic at 12 o’clock, followed by the red chilli, curry leaves, curry paste and lastly the chicken stock.

You are now ready to make your curry sauce. Pour the vegetable oil into a medium saucepan and bring to a medium heat. 

Fry the onion for roughly five–six minutes, stirring occasionally, until well softened and starting to brown. 

Add the garlic, red chilli and curry leaves and continue to fry for another 2–3 minutes. 

After about 30 seconds, you should start to smell the distinct aroma of the curry leaves. 

Do not allow the leaves to burn, but once they are starting to brown a little, add the curry paste and stir well. 

It should start to boil within about 30 seconds or so.

Continue to stir the paste for two–three minutes, until it is just about sticking to the base of the pan. 

At this point, pour in a quarter of the chicken stock and bring to the boil once more. 

Once the sauce has reduced by half, pour the rest of the stock into the pan and bring to the boil. 

Then bring the heat down to a simmer and continue to cook for 30 minutes, or until reduced by half again, keeping the saucepan uncovered. 

Season the sauce to taste with fish sauce (this is used for saltiness and will complement the fish balls).

Once the sauce has been reduced, add one tablespoon of the cornflour paste and stir, while boiling, to thicken it slightly. 

Finally, either reheat the fish balls in boiling water for three–four minutes, or add them to the curry sauce for five–ten minutes to reheat and soak up the sauce. 

Serve with bamboo skewers on the side for a great treat or snack.

Recipe from Hong Kong Diner by Jeremy Pang