February 18, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : Soy Braised Fried Fish

Very often my Third  uncle who was good at throwing the cast net would come home in the evenings, after just a few hours, with a good catch. Some times it would be a bucketful of river prawns and smaller fish.

If it was a fish, and the timing was just right for dinner. Third Aunt would deep fry the fish if it was suitable.

Any uneaten part of the fish would be kept for the next day. She would pour some soy sauce over the fish and keep it in the food safe.

If it was a rubber tapping day, ie the weather was fine, she would make a caramelized sauce of soy sauce and sugar and heat up the fish again. The slow cooking of the fish in the big kuali in the morning would send whiffs of aroma upstairs where some lazy bums might still have been asleep. That would wake them up, if the crowing by the few cockerels we had had not awaken them up at first light.

Hot rice would be scooped into the Cheng Ark (tiffin carrier), some soup would be also ladled out into another one, and a piece of the fish and sauce would be placed at the top layer. And off the rubber tapping cousins would go on their bicycles in the breaking first lights.

This was the kind of morning that I would remember fondly.

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