Friday, June 14, 2013

Salmon Fishballs

The idea was to use frozen wild salmon to make fishballs. I was in a mood for Thai so sauce had to be in Thai style - something coconuty, a bit fruity, but a bit spicy, and definitely flavored by kaffir lime leaves still hanging in my freezer.

Blog's Category: DK Challenges, My Own Fast and Easy

Salmon Fishballs in Coconut Pineapple Sauce

This month's challenge on The Daring Kitchen is meatballs! Actually, not just meatballs but any kind of balls. As vegetarian, I decided to play around salmon and of course I couldn't stay away from unleashing my imagination and go wild on a subject of Thai cuisine. Well.. thinking what can be more Thai than coconut, pineapple, kaffir lime, fish sauce and lime, I went ahead and created the dish below.

The most challenging thing was to get the sauce which would "speak" to me something like "I'm thai and I'm so-o-o delicious". Adding this and that, I managed to brew it! Sauce come out fruity, flavorfull, smooth and yes, delicious.

What is it

It's a fishballs, made of salmon, water chestnuts and a lot of green onion, seared first and then let to swim in a Thai type of sauce (pineapple, coconut milk, fish sauce, lime and kaffir lime leaves. There is also "assisting" sauce for added kick and visual impact, made of simply red bell pepper and sriracha sauce.

Taste Description

Tropical flavors of sauce make all the drama for this dish - so many flavors layered on each other - you will taste coconut and sweet pineapple, light acidity of lime juice, pungent notes of fish sauce and intriguing aroma of kaffir lime leaves.
Taste of salmon and chestnuts are almost lost in that Thai flavors of sauce but they have an awesome tender texture to carry all that beauty of sauce.
Satellite pretty red pepper sauce brings fun and spiciness to the dish - you can control the level of it by adding it more or less before serving.

How to Serve

Serve hot. Rice on a side is the best friend to these fishballs but feel free to have pasta or mashed potato (oh..yumm) on a side.

Salmon Fishballs in Coconut Pineapple Sauce

  • 1.5 lb defrosted salmon fillet, ground or processed
  • 2 cans (small) of water chestnuts, ground or processed
  • 3-4 cups green onion, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • eggs
  • 3 tbs corn starch (or wheat/rice flour)
  • olive oil for frying

Sauce # 1:

  • 3 tbs flavorless olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 pineapple, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (optional but desirable)
  • 3-4 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 tbs korean (not very spicy) crushed chili pepper (optional)
  • salt to taste
Sauce # 2:

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 0.5-2 tsp (depending on your heat tolerance) sriracha sauce

- Mix all ingredients for fishballs, fry/sear them in olive oil and then transfer them in a wide pot where later you will simmer them in a sauce.

- Blend pineapple pieces with a coconut milk. Set aside.

- Start sauce by cooking onion and garlic in olive oil, on a large skillet. After minute or two when onion become translucent, add pineapple blended with coconut and all remaining sauce # 1 ingredients. Add a cup or two of water and simmer sauce for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the taste by adding more salt, sugar, water, or lime juice.

Pour sauce # 1 on a seared fishballs and place pot on a stove to barely simmer for about 20-30 minutes for flavors to blend and intermingle.

- Meanwhile prepare garnishing sauce # 2: cook chopped pepper in olive oil, on a medium low heat until it's soft but not seared. Take off heat and blend. Add remaining ingredients and taste. Adjust salt or sriracha sauce if needed.

- Serve fishballs over the rice, with a lot of pineapple coconut sauce, garnished with pepper sriracha sauce. Enjoy!

Some Notes


This is water chestnuts. I didn't process them too finely, I still wanted them to chip in overall texture of fishballs.

It's a power mix, coconut and pineapple, very sweet and flavorful, so delute sauce with water to get the right level of taste and flavor not to be too assertive.

Fishballs are in... simmering in a pretty yellow bath.

Sauce # 2 is started...

I used hand held immersion blender to blend pepper for sauce # 2

In a day light pepper sauce looks especially bringt...

Blog-checking lines: The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice.


  1. I would never have thought to use fish - this is great. I like the dual sauces as well.
    Great job!

  2. All I can say is YUM. Both the salmon-balls and the delicious tropical sauce look and sound amazing, and together, that must have been an awesome meal. So creative - I love it! Thanks so much for cooking with us this month!


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