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Nga Tong – spicy Burmese Fish Dip

A brief rundown on how to make this delcicious, spicy Burmese fish dip

Nga Tong -a delicious kind of spicy fish dip or paste that’s served as a side dish or accompaniment to Burmese meals and which is actually exceptionally easy to make. Now we’re talking about a fresh fish dish, bearing no resemblance whatever to, for instance, Cambodia’s notorious fermented fish dip, prahok.

The famous Khmer 'Prahok'
The famous Khmer ‘Prahok’

Prahok is infamous for its main ingredient – a highly pungent, or stinking, depending on your point of view, fermented fish paste. However when well prepared it’s a real treat – a creamy, lightly spiced dip for fresh vegetables as above but anyway, back to Burma!

Nga Tong, (if we got the spelling right!?)
Nga Tong, (if we got the spelling right!?)

We were told to take a whole fish, fry it and then fillet it since in Burma fish only come whole and you don’t nip down the supermarket for a couple of frozen fillets but they would do fine and any reasonably firm white-fleshed freshwater fish would do fine. Lightly fry the fish then roughly crush it into flakes with a fork, let it cool and add crushed garlic, finely chopped chillies and salt and that’s it! Serve with a goods sized squeeze of fresh lime. Ingredient proportions are of course up to personal taste and strength of the chillies and garlic so best to keep adding slowly and keep tasting.

Straight out of Inle Lake
Straight out of Inle Lake

It is, as we said, generally eaten as an accompaniment, not a dish or starter in its own right but it would probably work well as ‘nibbles’ with say some prawn crackers or poppadoms along side or try out one of these Burmese curry recipes we came across here?

Cheers and bon appetit!