400g fish fillets, roughly chopped
1cm-piece ginger, grated
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
¼ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 egg white
5g dried seaweed such as wakame (optional)
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
3 spring onions, sliced
1 bunch gai lan or other greens such broccolini, bok choy etc, trimmed into 3cm pieces
200g rice noodles, soaked in room-temperature water for 10 minutes
2-3 tablespoons fried shallots
chilli crisp, for garnishing

I only make fish stock if I have a whole fish so I don’t often have it to hand, but do use it if you have some. I usually prefer the more rounded flavour of chicken stock hence why I use it here.


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1.Chill a food processor bowl and blades.
2.Add the fish fillets and blitz briefly to make a paste, then add the remaining ingredients.
3.Wet your hands and shape a piece into a small ball.
4.At this point I usually test to make sure the fish balls will hold together by poaching the first piece in a pan of simmering water before shaping the rest.
5.Add a little more cornflour to the mix if necessary.
6.This should make about 30 balls. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
8.Rehydrate the seaweed, if using, in water for 10 minutes then chop roughly.
9.Heat the chicken stock with the fish sauce, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and the white stems of the spring onions.
10.Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the fish balls and poach over a gentle heat until cooked through, about 5-8 minutes.
11.Add the gai lan and cook until just tender, about 2-3 minutes.
12.Add the seaweed and water if using and return to a simmer.
13.Cook the rice noodles in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes until tender, drain and refresh and put into warmed bowls.
14.Top with the soup and scatter over the spring onion greens and the fried shallots. Serve with chilli crisp alongside.
16.Use a firm tofu in place of the fish and add 2 tablespoons karengo flakes or dried crumbled nori to the mix.
17.Use 25ml aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) in place of the egg white if vegan.
18.Use a vegetarian fish sauce or miso and vegetable stock.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jess Hemmings