The fish “balls” turned out in the end to be more dumplings than balls. They were as light as air, but took a little creativity to prepare them. They were so delicate that the movement of even simmering soup broth threatened to cause them to disintegrate. So I put them on a baking pan and threw them under the broiler for 3-4 minutes. That firmed them up sufficiently so that they finished in the soup off the heat in just a couple of minutes.
The kombu (kelp seaweed) and bonito flakes were both present in the pantry.
So, here we go:
Miso noodle soup with seafood dumplings
4 oz. shrimp
4 oz. scallops
silken tofu (an amount in volume equal to that of the shrimp)
1-2 tsp chili/garlic paste (to taste)
4 cups water
a handful of kombu
1 cup bonito flakes
1 large or 2 medium scallions, white and green parts chopped fine
2-3 tbsp yellow miso paste
1 package (?? oz. udon noodles)
Cut the shrimp and scallops into ½” pieces. Put them in the food processor. Add the tofu and the chili paste and process nearly into a paste (a little texture is a good thing). Put a tsp worth into the microwave for 20 seconds to test for seasoning. Adjust as you see fit.
Spoon onto a lubricated piece of foil on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler. When ready, broil the dumplings for 3-4 minutes.
Put the kombu and water into a large saucepan. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and remove the kombu with a slotted spoon. Add the bonito flakes and let them sit until they sink to the bottom of the pan. Strain the bonito out.
Above: the udon noodles and the dried bonito flakes.
Bring the broth back to a boil and add the udon noodles. Simmer 3 minutes. In the meantime, dissolve the miso paste in water. When the noodles are done, add miso in increments until you achieve the flavor you like. Add the dumplings and allow to sit off the heat for 3 minutes. Serve.