Five Spice Fish Balls

Recipes | Deep-Frying | Yum Cha Makes 18 pieces Five Spice Fish Balls

Deep-frying isn’t as unhealthy as some people think – food deep-fried at the correct temperature actually absorbs less oil than food that is shallow-fried. The hot oil quickly forms a seal around the food, providing a barrier against further oil being absorbed … and it tastes so good! These delicious balls are great as part of a yum cha or as finger food.


2 tablespoons Szechuan pepper 
1 x 200g piece Australian Hairtail fish fillet, skin off, bones removed, roughly chopped 
200g large green prawns, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
2 green onions, finely chopped
Peanut oil, for deep-frying
½ cup cornflour


Heat Szechuan pepper in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, until fragrant, stirring often. Grind to a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Blend fish, prawns, soy sauce, sesame oil and five spice in a food processor until well blended but still slightly chunky. Remove to a mixing bowl, stir in green onion, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 180°C.

Mix cornflour and Szechuan pepper together in a small bowl. Make bite-sized fish balls and coat each one with the cornflour mixture. 

Deep-fry balls, in batches, for about 4 minutes, until golden and springy to touch. 

Serve hot. 

Alternative species:

Gemfish, Hake, Ling, Ribbonfish.

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