‘Chinese ball’ is a broad term used to describe a variety of popular Chinese foods that are typically created in a rounded shape resembling a ball, but variously stuffed and flavored. These may range from sweet and sour Chinese chicken Balls to stuffed meatballs; also from traditional ‘Mantous’, consumed as a staple in North China to the sweet sesame seed filled balls, a famous confectionary item. Some of these are briefly described below:
- Chinese Chicken Balls
Chicken Balls that form part of modern Chinese fare are an important staple take away food that feature on most Chinese restaurant menus.
They are popular across Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland also.
Spherical boneless chicken pieces are normally batter-coated and fried crisp to make Chicken Balls. These are normally served with Chinese sauces such as the spicy red chilli sauce, sweet and sour sauce or even plum sauce.
Ingredients and Method
- White flour is mixed together with the baking powder, salt, pepper, beaten eggs and milk.
- The chicken pieces are dipped into this batter to coat and then fried in hot cooking oil until uniformly golden brown on all sides and served with red sauce.
In the Eastern and South East Asian countries, such as Japan and the Philippines, certain variations of these Chicken balls are quite commonly prepared.
Nutritive Value of Chicken Balls
Chicken is a comparatively low-fat source of quality lean proteins and is associated with a number of health benefits. Being a white meat, it is considered one of the safest meats obtainable. It is rich in phosphorus, selenium, B-vitamins. Chicken is an excellent source of amino acid tryptophan, Vitamins B3 and B6 and a good source of phosphorus, selenium and choline.
Nutritive Value of Beef Balls
Beef mince may be used to make Chinese Meat balls or Beef Balls that are greatly relished for their rich taste and is suitable for consumption by persons on a muscle-building /body building diet. Beef’s amino acid profile is favorable to the muscle protein build up. Vitamin B6 in beef promotes protein synthesis and regulates protein metabolism to facilitate recovery after intense training. A Beef is also a good source of magnesium and zinc, which are important in muscular growth and immunity building. Being a red meat it is high in iron content that is crucial for red blood cell formation.
- Chinese Fish Balls
In Southern parts of China, fish is popularly prepared in this manner to make Chinese Fish balls served with spicy red chilli sauce or soy sauce. Fish balls are served as snack or appetizer in the Provinces of Fukienese, Guangzhou and Fuzhou as part of the traditional cuisine. The specific fish used is deboned, flavored with scallions, ginger, salt, pepper and lime during the preparatory stages and coated in an egg white and starch batter before dropping into water which is slowly brought to a boil allowing the fish to cook in the process.
Nutritive Value of fish balls
Fish is as such a nutrient-rich food being high in quality proteins, while being low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The high content of omega-3 fats and magnesium, exhibit a protective effect on the cardiovascular system being conducive to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and myocardial infarction. Fish is also a good source of nutrients like with Vitamin A, phosphorus, calcium, and iron.
Mantou is a white round steamed ball of dough with no filling as such. In Northern China this is consumed as the staple food, given that historically people in the north do not eat rice.
In certain parts of China, these are eaten for dessert which is prepared in a unique way. Half of the prepared ball is deep fried so that one half of the dish is golden colored and the other half is left white. These balls are then served along with some sweetened condensed milk for dipping.
Sometimes a filling of sesame seeds or crushed honey glazed peanuts may be used, that add immensely to not only the taste but also nutritive value of the final dessert.