For me, fish sauce conjures the late Anthony Bourdain, slightly drunk, describing the steaming platter that’s just arrived at his table: Fishy. Salty. Full of umami. Fish sauce is a sauce made out of fish that has been fermented and aged. Adding it to soups and broths adds depth, flavor, and saltiness. But fish sauce in candy?
In a “prik nam pla” you combine fish sauce, chili, lime, and sugar. Since we’re already making candy we’ve got the sugar we just need to add the rest.
We boiled the chilis in the bubbling sugar mixture to extract their heat and flavor (side note: slice the chilis in half before boiling them or they’ll explode). We removed the chilis after boiling for a few minutes…and a few explosions later. After we got to the hard crack stage we added the fish sauce to give the water in it time to boil off. Then we removed the pot from the heat before adding the lime zest.
The end result was pretty great.
It has an almost-salted-caramel taste with a faint note of lime and a slight burn from the chili. More lime and more heat would take it from being good to being great. ‘Prik nam pla’ is all about balance. Too much of any one ingredient and the flavor is off.
For a first batch I didn’t have a lot of complaints. We know what tweaks we’re going to make in the recipe and maybe, one day, you’ll be able to see it for sale on our website.
Most confectioners play it safe and stick to best selling flavors. We’re incorrigible. While we do have some crowd favorites we’re always trying to develop new candy recipes that are delicious and slightly different than what’s out there. It doesn’t always turn out exactly right but that’s some of the fun.