I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical about this one. I mean caramel has it’s place, and I’m all for sweet and savory combinations – you’ll never see me turn down a chocolate-coated pretzel and, yes, I have been known to dip my french fries in my milkshake. But caramel on fish?
You may share my skepticism, so let me deal with that right now: you’re wrong. This caramel is flavored with fish sauce and it is pure umami. The Asian countries definitely know something about balancing flavors and this dish has perfect balance.
The cloying sweetness of caramel doesn’t exist here, the fish sauce is savory enough to overcome this – too savory to consume in this quantity (4 Tbsp!) on its own, thus balance comes into play. I may sound like a stuck record, but it just works so fantastically well!
The perfect accompaniment is blanched bok choi and a topping of peppery green onion and fiery red chilli cut through the fried fish and sticky, salty sauce. It may make your kitchen smell like you’ve been drying eels on your washing line, but it was just heaven and you have to try it or risk losing all your foodie credentials.
Go on, sticky toffee that fish!
Recipe adapted from Olive magazine October 2013
2 Tbsp Sugar
3 Tbsp Fish Sauce (I think 4 was a bit much)
White Fish or any other meat or seafood
1. Heat sugar and a splash of water over medium heat until caramel forms.
2. Add fish sauce and another splash of water and allow to reduce slightly.
3. Pour caramel into a dish and wipe out pan.
4. Add a little oil to pan and fry fish or meat on one side until golden.
5. Turn the fish or meat over and add caramel back to pan. Cook until caramel forms a sticky glaze and fish or meat is cooked through.
6. Serve topped with sliced red chilies and green onions.