Vietnamese Braised Catfish (Cá Kho Tộ)

One of my favorite family-style meal dishes is Cá Kho Tộ, Vietnamese braised catfish. The braised catfish is savory and sweet from the fish sauce and sugar marinade and simmered to a rich and sticky icky goodness. The fish tastes super flavorful, delicate, and tender and soaks up all the flavors from the marinade. So Yum!

Give me a big bowl of steamed rice and Canh Chua and I’m going in! When you make this, make sure you make extra because it is super addicting.

Ingredients:
1.5 Pounds Catfish, cut into 5/8 inch steaks
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon caramel color (optional)
2 green onion, finely chopped
2 Thai Chilies

Steps:

Marinate Fish – In a medium bowl, add garlic, shallot, fish sauce, brown sugar, oyster sauce, black pepper, oil, and caramel color and mix well. Add fish and marinade for at least 1 hour.

Braise Fish – Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet or claypot on a stovetop over medium-high heat. Sear fish for 2-3 minutes on each side to develop some color. Add remaining marinade, Thai chilies, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer fish for 20-25 minutes, flipping every few minutes until the liquid evaporates and the sauce is thick and syrupy. With about 5 minutes left in the braising process, add green onions.

Tips:

  • Adjust seasonings to your taste preference.
  • I’ve used salmon for this and it works well, but prefer using catfish
  • If liquid reduces too much, add a bit of water to loosen up the sauce.
  • While fish is braising, continue to baste with the simmering liquid.

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