Scale and gut the fish, then fillet it. Scrape the flesh off with a metal spoon, taking care to remove any bones. Pound the flesh or blend in a liquidiser. Dissolve the salt in water. Add the salt solution gradually to the pounded fish until a paste is formed. Add pepper.
Shape the fish paste into balls. Bring water to a boil in a saucepot. Drop the fishballs into the saucepot and bring to a boil again until they float to the surface. (once the fishballs rise to the surface, they are cooked.) Fishballs made from tau foo yee are springy if the fish is fresh.