One of my fondest food memories is that of a breakfast at Calcutta’s Bow Bazaar (China town). I was all of 10 and even as I curiously made my way through the bustling street, I knew I was onto something special. I have forgotten most of the details, but one experience has remained etched in mind ever since.
A plump lady sat on the low stool, stirring a tall pot of strange looking soup. I hadn’t seen anything like it before, it had white floating lumps and a fishy smell I didn’t at all associate with breakfast. I was handed a bowlful, and at the first sumptuous slurp I was sold. The fish balls were light and spongy; a texture I had never felt before. The broth was subtle, clear and the perfect breakfast in a bowl . That was my first and only bowl of fish ball soup. Ever since, I’ve been on the look out for seconds.
Finally, I decided I’ve been waiting too long and I made my own fish ball soup.
Peppery Fish Ball soup with Broccoli and Pak Choy, photograph © Salonee Gadgil