I like plain fried fish – marinated with salt and turmeric, or with salt and white pepper. It has to be fried right, and that means it must be crispy on the outside and moist inside, not bone dry.
I could happily have a plate of hot rice with just fried fish, with condiments like kicap manis and sambal belacan. But I like it most with this dipping sauce – a sweet-sour-salty-spicy dip made with sliced shallots, kalamansi lime juice, sugar, thick soya sauce and bird’s eye chilli.
This is the combination I like, but there are many other versions.
Some people use tamarind juice for the sourness, and some add carambola or belimbing buluh. Some people add toasted belacan (prawn paste) too, and some don’t use soya sauce.
I also like this dip with sambal belacan (red chillies pounded with toasted belacan). The best place to sample these dips is at the stalls selling grilled fish. My favourite dip the one served at Pak Din’s stall at the Jalan Tanglin food court at the Lake Gardens.
5 shallots, sliced thinly
Juice from 6-8 calamansi lime
4-5 bird’s eye chilli, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon thick soya sauce
Mix the shallots with the calamansi lime juice for at least ten minutes. Then, add the bird’s eye chilli, sugar and thick soya sauce. Mix well, and taste. Adjust the seasoning accordingly.