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Friday, October 9, 2009

Braised Vietnamese Fish - Ca Kho To - Foodie Friday





From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Among my favorite recipes is one from Vietnam in which fish steaks are braised in a sweet and salty sauce that's made from fish sauce (nuoc mam) and caramel. Before you have a chance to say, "No way!" let me assure you that this is an easy and delicious dish. It's a type of kho, a clay pot cooking method that's used for braising meat and fish in Southeast Asia. Happily, this dish can be made in a heavy skillet on top of your stove, and, while I used salmon, any thick, meaty fish can be substituted, as long as it will fit in a tight layer in the pan. I know the addition of caramel to a savory sauce is strange to many, but I'm going to ask you to trust me. I've included a recipe for caramel sauce but if that intimidates you, use an equal measure of brown sugar in its place. Once made, caramel sauce will keep for about a month and I always try to have some on hand. The dish can be on the table in 30 minutes. Rice is a perfect accompaniment.

Braised Vietnamese Fish - Ca Kho Yo...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:
Caramel sauce
1/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water
Fish
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallots or red onion
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon caramel sauce or brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 pounds salmon steaks or other meaty fish, about 1-inch thick
3 green onions, trimmed, white part chopped, green part cut into 2-inch pieces

Directions
1) To make caramel sauce: Combine cold water and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Stir well. Cook, occasionally swirling sauce, until it becomes syrupy and color begins to change, about 5 to 7 minutes. When it is color of maple syrup, pour hot water down sides of pan. It will spit and splatter. Let it settle down. Stir and continue cooking until sauce is thin and smooth. Set aside to cool.
If not used immediately, transfer to a screw top jar and store at room temperature for about 1 month.
2) In a medium deep skillet, combine oil, shallots and garlic. Warm over medium-high heat until garlic becomes fragrant and starts to sizzle. Add fish sauce, sugar, caramel sauce, water and pepper; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens a little. Carefully add salmon steaks. Return sauce to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Carefully turn fish, add green onions and cook for 5 minutes longer. Transfer fish and sauce to shallow bowls. Serve hot. Yield: 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from Quick and Easy Vietnamese by Nancie McDermotte

This recipe is being linked to:
Designs By Gollum - Foodie Friday

37 comments:

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Mary, that sounds like an absolutely intriguing recipe. I would gladly be your guinea pig. I love salmon, and I think the flavors sound like something I would love to try. Thanks for sharing; I always love reading your recipes...

Happy Foodie Friday!

XO,

Sheila :-)

Lorna ~ Lace and Ivy Cottage said...

Mary, Kudos to you for trying new and exotic recipes. You're my type of cook! I love Vietnamese food and just looking at the picture and reading the recipe, I know it's delicious. I think people would be afraid of the fish sauce (something I use often in asian cooking) but the smell is nothing like the flavor it imparts. Thanks for the recipe!

Helene said...

What a different recipe. This looks simply delicious.

My Little Space said...

I read through the ingredients for this recipe...the sauce is really tasty. By the way, today I made fish too..he he! Cheers.

Mary said...

I was surprised when I tried Alton Brown's brown sugar salmon - figured it would be "sweet" but it really wasn't and the flavor was amazing. This just looks beautiful Mary!

figtree said...

Oh my this is something I would love to try..I think you have inspired me...AGAIN!Figtreeapps

Donna-FFW said...

The caramel flavored sauce sounds lovely, and looks so delicious on top of your fish steak/salmon.

Martha said...

Husband Jim would love this --- looks delicious and I may have to just surprise him with it!

Charli and me said...

It really does look delicious. I would also love to try it. I hope you have a great weekend Mary ♥ Thank you for posting all of these fabulous recipes.

Debbie said...

Sounds delicious and different. Love the sauce that is on the fish.

Alyssa said...

This sounds delicious, and I can safely say that I've not had much Vietnamese cuisine. Seafood is a favorite and Asian is usually a big hit here also, so I can't wait to try this.

bj said...

O, my goodness, Mary. Salmon and shrimp are the only fish I like and this recipe sounds delightful. I like smoked salmon the best but have never really tried it other ways.
Between your fancy cooking and my "down on the farm" plain cooking, it's a good thing we don't live next door to ea other. We'd be two big ole fatties, for sure!! :)
hugs to you on this cool and misty day, bj

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love salmon but usually only grill it outdoors. This sounds like a delightful recipe to try now that it's getting too cold to grill. The flavors sounds wonderful!

ButterYum said...

Sounds really yummy. I love fish sauce!

George Gaston said...

Sweet & savory ~ sounds delicious!

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

You were right, my first instinct was, "This is way to involved for me." But you have explained it and simplified it down to where I think I could try this. My DH likes to cook, too so I think he would like to try this. Often, I will print out a recipe and leave it on the counter. A few day later, he will make it. Tricky, huh?

Atelier de Charo said...

Look delicious!!! Thanks for the recipie.
Hugs
Charo

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

A very different type of recipe...looks very exotic...I love reading your recipes!!!

Cathy said...

Your photo looks good enough to eat, Mary. What a beautiful dish and one that my curiosity demands that I try. I'll get some salmon at the market tomorrow.

Samantha said...

This looks fabulous! It might actually convince my fish-picky husband to eat salmon =)

Deana said...

That looks so delicious!!! My grandpa is a fisherman, so I grew up eating all sorts of fresh catches and I am a huge fan of seafood. I'm gonna pass this recipe along to my grandpa.

Julie said...

wow ...your family eats good!!!
:-)
Thanks for visiting. your recipe looks delicious!
have a blessed weekend.

Michelle said...

OH MY...does this look delicious or what! Never had it before but I know I would love it!

xinex said...

Looks very good, Mary. I love Vietnamese food especially their pho soup. You wouldn't happen to have a recipe of that, do you?...Christine

Cass @ That Old House said...

In the past month i have tried Indian and Thai foods for the first time -- now I am tempted by Vietnamese. Your photographs are so stunning -- it's as if we could dine on those alone!
Cass

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I'm game! I have never had it but would love to try it.
Perhaps I should pop over.. sevenish? Should I bring a Riesling or Gewurtz? :)

Tricia said...

This is one of my all time favorite dish! When I was living in L.A. I would go to this Vietnamese Restaurant to get my "lunch" ... they open at 7am. This is one of the dishes I would pick up! (They use catfish)

I have forgotten all about this! Hmmm... will definately make this soon!!!

Thanks for the recipe!!!

Pam said...

So many delicious flavors in one dish. Looks wonderful.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Wonderful, Mary!

Debinhawaii said...

Yum--bet it is good with rice noodles too.

Pauline said...

Wow, Mary! You make Vietnamese food look high class restaurant food! Being Vietnamese, seeing you make this is awesome! I wish I knew how to do this. Mmm, makes me miss those good Vietnamese ca kho.

Angelika said...

I will try this dish! I love fish and I love the food from Southeast Asia. Having lived in Hong Kong for seven years, and extensively visited that South China Sea area and beyond, and also now have a new Malaysian daughter-in-love, I really enjoy that cuisine in its varied delights!

free online adventure games said...

I love fish and I'd definitely want to try out this recipe! Being asian, I've grown up learning that a pinch of sugar can be added to food to bring out the flavour of the food, especially when it's really sour or spicy, while reducing the extreme tastes somewhat and yet not making the food taste weirdly sweet. This is another great example of that practice.

Jamie said...

A really fabulous fish dish! I love the flavors and it looks so delicious! You never cease to amaze me!

Kevin said...

I really like the sound of doing salmon in a Vietnamese caramel dish.

Mary said...

Kevin, this is a wonderful dish. I hope you'll direct your very talented eye to it and put your special spin on it. I'd be curious to see what you come up with.

Term Papers said...

This is my favorite recipes is one from Vietnam in which fish steaks are braised in a sweet and salty sauce that's made from fish sauce (nuoc mam) and caramel.


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