Monday, April 4, 2011

Braised Catfish in Coconut Sauce – Vietnamese Style

My favorite dish at Monsoon Restaurants in Seattle is Catfish Claypot. I always order it when I go there.

I finally decided to try and make it myself couple weeks ago and guess what?! It turned out brilliant, like English would say, and comparable to Monsoon’s dish. Instead of Claypot I used my Le Creuset dutch oven.

I have to give credit to the blog by Ravenous Couple. Below I describe how I made this dish following their recipe.


2 fillets of catfish
4 tablespoons of fish sauce
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of black pepper
Green onion, chopped for garnish
1 white onion, sliced
½ can of coconut milk
4 tablespoons of white sugar
½ cup of water
Oil for cooking (peanut, grapeseed or canola)
1 thai green chili, chopped


Wash catfish fillets with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut each fillet into 3-4 slices and put in a bowl.

        In a separate bowl combine together garlic, shallots, brown sugar, pepper and fish sauce. Rub catfish slices with this sauce mixture and let marinate for an hour.

        While fish is marinating make caramel sauce. Ravenous couple suggested using caramel sauce from the store. I was not able to find it in the store so I followed their recipe for making it myself. Combine white sugar and water in a small pot and bring it to boil. Next, reduce heat to medium low and let it boil for about 8 minutes. The mixture will have light brown color and start to become syrupy. At this point I pour caramel sauce into a separate bowl and leave it until I am ready to use it.
        Now it is time to make the dish. Fry catfish pieces in a dutch oven (I use Le Creuset) on medium high on both sides for about 2 minutes a side. 

        Add white onions, chili. Pour coconut milk and caramel sauce on top of catfish (just enough to cover fish) and bring to boil. 

        Once boiling reduce heat to medium low, put the lid on and let simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes take the lid off, taste the sauce and adjust it to your liking with fish sauce, coconut milk, pepper or sugar.  I wanted sauce to boil down and become dark brown so I increased the heat to medium and cooked fish uncovered for another 10 minutes.

        Once fish has been cooked, add chopped green onions. Catfish is ready to serve. I served it with white rice. Bon Appetite!

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