I went to our local Filipino store a couple of weeks ago, and upon inspection of their freezers, I saw something that I have been craving for the longest time - fish balls. Now before you pass out due to shock or disgust (or both), it's not what you think. Fish balls are not the balls of a fish (I have yet to see a pair of those). Rather, they are fish meat (and whatnots) shaped into a ball. Kinda like chicken nuggets, but its fish. And as proof, here is the ingredients list:
Fish balls are common street food in the Philippines. I fondly remember my favorite fishball vendor driving around on our street on his bike and sidecar, while we scramble to get loose coins from our mother's purses to buy a stick or two of this delicious treat. Sauces range from the mild sweet variety, to the hot and spicy. And these humble vendors were the first to teach me the "No Double Dipping" rule. Ah, those were the good ole days.
So when I saw those fish balls in the frozen section, I grabbed two bags, one supposedly for my lomi soup (which I forgot to add, by the way), and the other for just regular frying. Unfortunately, these fish balls tasted nothing like the ones I used to have, but not in a bad way. They were actually very good (almost like Surimi), but I still miss the taste of regular fish balls (sigh).
Since all I did was dump the balls in hot oil, I will share the recipe for the sweet-hot sauce I made.
What you need:
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon banana ketchup
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons water, divided
What to do:
Heat a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add in the vinegar, chili garlic sauce and sugar. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, thin the ketchup by mixing it with 2 tablespoons of water. Add it to the vinegar-sugar mixture.
In another bowl, dissolve the constarch in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Pour it in a thin stream into the sauce pan.
Simmer for another minute, then remove from heat.
Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. For a hotter sauce, double the amount of chili garlic sauce.
2. Experiment! Use Sambal Oelek or Tabasco instead of the chili garlic. Lemme know the results.
3. If it is too tangy for your taste, add 2 tablespoons of water or more, according to your liking.