In a large bowl, add the plant-based ground or mince. The mince I used was already seasoned so I didn’t add much salt and pepper.
For the tofu, I simply drained my block from water. I no longer pressed my tofu since my minced was quite dry and separate (similar to cooked minced meat).
But if your plant-based ground is similar to the consistency of raw ground meat, that’s wet and sticky, I recommend to press your tofu. To press your tofu, you can cover it with a towel before placing a heavy surface (such as a board) on top for 5-10 minutes to allow it to release liquid.
Add the tofu with the plant based ground/mince and then mash it and break the tofu apart with your hands or a fork.
Add in the carrot, onion, garlic, 1/2 cup corn starch first, and soy sauce. Mix well with a spoon or your hands. The mixture will get lots of moisture from the carrot and tofu so if you find that the mixture is still very wet and doesn’t hold up very well, you can add 1 tbsp more corn starch at a time. I used a total for 1 cup corn starch fro mine since my mixture was quite were at the start.
You can taste some of the mixture and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Scoop around 1 1/2 tbsp of the mixture and shape into balls. Each ball is a little smaller than a ping-pong ball. Repeat this until you have around 22-24 meatballs
Meanwhile, preheat your frying pan or wok over medium high heat. Once hot, add in enough neutral oil to completely submerge the bola-bola and leave the oil to get hot. If pan-frying/baking, see some tips in the notes below.
To test the heat of the oil, you can add a tiny piece of of the meatball and add to the oil. The oil should immediately sizzle and the tiny piece should float up.
Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs in 2-3 batches of 7-8 meatballs at a time (depending on the size of your pan). Make sure not to overcrowd the meatballs. I cooked mine in 3 batches.
Leave the bola-bola to cook for 4-5 minutes over medium high heat or until the bola-bola are a deep golden brown colour and are crisp on the outside.
Transfer the balls to strainer or cooling rack to drain any excess oil. Don’t cover the balls so they stay crisp. Repeat this for the rest!
Serve and enjoy your bola-bola with your dipping sauce of choice or use for other recipes, such as Sweet & Sour Bola-Bola or meatballs (recipe here)!