Sweet-and-Sour Ginger Fish balls with Soba noodles

For this dish, I worked together with Iona from The Good Spice, who has delicious Hill Ginger in her assortment. The Good Spice sources spices directly from small-scale farmers. Because they are sourced single origin – from one farmer or community – their special flavors will not get lost in a bulk product from many untraceable places.  Moreover, the short supply chain of the Good Spice allows to get the spices from the farmer directly to you in weeks instead of years; this freshness makes a world of difference. You can read more about The Good Spice here.

I hadn’t made fish balls often before, and this might seem like a lot of work. However, don’t let this discourage you; the food processor does much of the work and the result is a bunch of light, flavorful and fresh ginger fish balls! If you are expecting guests, you can make the balls up front and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to fry them and finish the dish.

Ingredients (for 3-4):

  • For the sweet-and-sour glaze:
    • 300g marmalade (e.g. ginger, apricot or lime), 140ml white wine vinegar or rice vinegar, 1 stalk of lemongrass (halved, slightly crushed with the back of your knife), 4 kaffir lime leaves, 1 chopped red chili pepper, 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 500g of fresh cod filet, in large chunks
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • zest of 1 lime
  • neutral cooking oil
  • 300g of soba noodles, prepared using the instructions on the package
  • to finish; fresh pineapple and toasted sesame seeds, fresh baby spinach

Preparation time: 30min, plus 20min in the fridge

Preparations:

  • Add all the ingredients, except the lime juice, for the sweet-and-sour glaze in a small pot and heat on low fire, stir until the marmalade has resolved. Turn the fire up until medium, and leave the glace to softly boil for about 5 minutes. Remove the glaze from the fire and remove the lemon grass and lime leaves. Stir in the lime juice.
  • To make the fish balls; place the fish chunks in a food processor and add the flour, spring onions, chili pepper, garlic, ginger powder, soy sauce, lime zest, salt and pepper. Use the pulse button and turn into a smooth mixture. Use slightly wet hands to form balls the size of a walnut. Place in the fridge for at least 20min.
  • When you are ready to eat, take the balls out of the fridge and lightly roll them through some flour. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the balls in ~5min nice and brown. Then pour half of the sweet-and-sour glaze over the fish balls, stir to make sure they are coated on all sides, cover with a lid and let them simmer over low fire for ~8min. Stir every few minutes and add more glaze if the pan becomes dry.
  • Take the fish balls out of the pan, leaving the glaze behind. Add the remaining glaze and stir the cooked soba noodles through the glaze in the pan.
  • Place the soba noodles in individual bowls, add the ginger fish balls, fresh baby spinach and pineapple chunks. Decorate further with sesame seeds, chopped up spring onions and chili pepper, enjoy!

What to drink with this?

With slightly spicy Asian food, usually Gruner Veltliners are recommended. With this specific dish we had a Weissburgunder and that worked really well too!