How to Produce Fish Balls
Overview of Fish Balls
Fish balls are a common food in southern China, Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia and overseas Chinese communities. They are made with fish paste and boiled in a soupy broth, or deep fried. They are also common in Nordic countries.
Fishball is a popular traditional food product in Southeast Asia and is served in various applications, and it can be cooked or served in soup, fried, and so on. Each country has their own name for a fish ball, such as Yu Huan in Singapore, Yu Wan in China, Bebola Ikan in Malaysia and Indonesia, Nga Soke in Myanmar, Bola Bola in the Philippines, and Look Chin Pla in Thailand.
The basic ingredients of the fish ball are fish, flour and flavorings such as salt and sugar can also be used. The proportions depend on the quality and type to be made. The white fish balls found in some traditional Hong Kong restaurants are made using fresh fish, while street style is made using cheap fish and a mixture of flour to reduce costs. However, how to produce fish balls from fresh fishes, please go on reading, you will understand.
How to Manufacture Quality Fish Balls Industrially
The raw material including raw fish or frozen fish meat is used for making fish balls. Besides that, typical ingredients used for the manufacture of fish ball are salt (3-5%), sugar (3%), starch (3%), MSG (1%), and water (40%) in addition to the primary ingredient generally. These ingredients are usually stored at room temperature. The ingredients are mixed during the chopping step to obtain the appropriate texture, taste, and flavor of the finished product. A fish ball processing line for industrial manufacture is as following sequentially: preparation of fish flesh, meat grinding/chopping and mixing, forming fishballs, molding and boiling, cooling, and packaging.
1. Preparation of fish flesh
If the raw material is raw fish, the fish should be scaled by fish scaling machine which can remove the fish scale in an automatic and sanitary way. Then it goes on fish skinning by fish skinning machine and removing fish bones by fish meat separator machine. If the raw material is frozen fish meat, the frozen fish meat should be sliced by frozen meat slicing machine. Then the fish flesh will be put into bowl cutter machine for grinding processing.
2. Grinding/chopping and mixing the flesh of fish with other ingredients
A bowl cutter machine or a high-speed vacuum cutter machine is used to chop the flesh of fish and homogeneously mix all ingredients. The process breaks down and loosens the muscle fibers. Next, salt is added to extract salt-soluble fish proteins. The amount of added salt is usually 3-5% by weight, depending on consumer preferences. After adding salt, the other ingredients and ice water can be mixed to enhance the taste and flavor of the finished products. Some manufacturers add salt in the final stage of chopping as a way to float raw fish balls without tangling. The use of 3-5% salt in fish balls appears to be a little too high, but it would be necessary for fish balls traded in a plastic bag with water as a packing solution.
3. Forming fish balls
Once chopping is completed, the paste is transferred fast to a meatball making machine to produce the fish balls. And the core meatball machine can be used too, which is the equipment for all kinds of meat forming into balls with stuffing inside. This machine can produce fish balls of any size according to different requests.
4. Molding and boiling of fish balls
After the paste is formed into a fish ball shape, the fish balls go into a molding groove with water directly, then fish balls are cooked in hot water. The water in the meatball molding groove and cooking groove are heated by the steam pipeline, the water temperature is controlled by the high-temperature and high-pressure valve and gives the temperature of water in the molding groove around 75-degree centigrade, the temperature of water in the cooking groove about 90-degree centigrade. The water circulation system makes the water in the molding groove into the flowing water and the meatballs flow with the flowing water towards the end of the molding groove. The flowing procedure is controlled by the control valve to realize the ideal meatball molding effect. And fish balls are cooked in the cooking groove for 10 minutes. The products then have a smoother surface. Cooking also serves to pasteurize the product.
5. Cooling or freezing fish balls according to the demand
After cooking in the hot water, the fish balls are conveyed into the cooling groove to cool quickly. The water in the cooling groove is open, while the cold water flows in, the warm water flows out, in order to keep the water temperature around 25-degree centigrade. While the majority is traded as a chilled product, fish balls are often subjected to a freezing process (-18℃) to preserve the wholesomeness and quality of the product. The product then remains frozen until consumption.
6. Packing of fish balls
Fish balls are packed manually or mechanically in various containers. Raw fish balls which are not cooked but modeled, are packed in chilled water or brine solution and stored in the refrigerator until delivery. Good packaging enhances storage stability, distribution, and marketing. The packaging materials prevent dehydration during storage and ensure product quality until the time of consumption. Fish balls may also be vacuum packed to extend shelf life according to the demand.
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