Caramelised fish recipe

This is breakfast.

I don’t want to hear your cries of disgust or see your little noses wrinkle up disapprovingly. This is not just breakfast, but the breakfast of champions: chunks of dried fish fried with garlic and caramelised until crispy and golden, wonderfully sweet and intensely savoury, perfect with a side dish of rice porridge.

You’ll find the dried fish at most Cambodian markets. The fish is marinated in a flavoured brine before being left to dry out in the sun. Choose a stall where the owner takes care to bat the flies away; if you travel overland between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, you’ll find particularly tasty specimens at Kompong Thom market. The smaller variety is made from wild fish and more delicious than its fatter farmed cousin.

To prepare it, wash it thoroughly and chop into thumb sized pieces. Fry the fish in about one centimetre of oil until both sides are crispy and golden brown. Remove the excess oil, then add a lot of chopped garlic – about 6 or 8 cloves for a whole fish.

When the garlic starts to change colour, sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar and a tiny bit of water over the fish. Stir well until everything has caramelised around the fish chunks, then serve with some steaming hot borbor (rice porridge) and beet pickles.

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