Fish Sauce Recipes

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Ca Bong Lau Kho To (Vietnamese Claypot Catfish) Recipe

This is probably one of the quickest and easiest Vietnamese fish dishes. The only requirement is to use flawless, very fresh catfish called "cá bông lau" in Vietnamese. Whenever I go to the Asian grocery stores, if I find fish with bright clear eyes and the skin looks shiny and clean, chances are I bring some seafood home. Also, most important, fresh fish should smell briny and pleasant. 

The steps for preparing cá bông lau kho tộ  are simple but crucial. First, soak the fish in vinegar; that way the fish texture will maintain a firm texture, even once it's cooked. Then, frying onions and the use of red chili powder covers the fish-y flavor and lastly, braising the fish in a combination of soy sauce (not fish sauce) and coconut sauce will bring wonderful, lightly sweet flavor to the seafood dish. 

 


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Things I can't Live without: Fish Sauce Products Recipe
Here's another video featuring the ingredients I'm obsessed with and that are a must in my everyday cooking. Please note that this post is not sponsored; it's unbiased and features my 100% honest opinion. Today, I want to feature the brands of fish sauce that I use. I'm visiting my parents in France right now and I had anticipated preparing our favorite Vietnamese dish: phở bò. Of course making a dashing beef broth is key, but in my opinion, the finishing touch is as important; drizzling a bit of nuoc mam to enhance the noodle soup dish. So I carefully packed a bottle of my favorite nuoc mam in my luggage and gifted one to Maman and Papa.
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Ca Kho Recipe: Vietnamese Braised Salmon in Caramel Sauce Recipe

Even though I live in a 9-person household, over the years baby Aria and I have become the only "omnivores". I don't know if her taste buds will change over time and she'll copy her father's vegetarian diet, but for now, Aria enjoys meat and seafood. Last evening, I prepared a typical Vietnamese meal for ourselves called "cá hồi kho nước dừa", which roughly translates to "braised salmon simmered in coconut water". As a cook and especially as a mom, I took such pleasure in watching her appreciate the meal I had prepared for her. 

The fish is cooked in a caramel sauce called "nước màu" ("colored water"), which is a "savory" sauce made of caramel where the boiling point of sugar was reached to add a brown color and to impart a slightly bitter aroma. The sauce is balanced with spicy, fresh red Thai chili peppers, ginger, nước mắm (fish sauce), whole mint leaves and green onions. My favorite way to serve this "cá kho" dish is with steamed jasmine rice and blanched Vietnamese leafy greens. It's a healthy, nutritious and complete meal. Baby Aria loved it and I'm sure you will, too. If you'd like to start with a more inexpensive fish, you could prepare the same dish with catfish or mackerel.


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Vietnamese Shrimp in Caramel Sauce (Tom Kho Recipe) Recipe

This evening, I finished preparing dinner but realized everything was vegetarian. And if you think like me, vegetarian food is good but it's still lacking one thing. What's missing, you might ask? I looked at our dining table and I immediately knew what would make dinner complete: a dish of shrimp.

I had one pound of small shrimp begging to be cooked. So in less than 30 minutes, I whipped up some tôm kho, which is Vietnamese for shrimp in caramel sauce. The key is the amber-color sauce cooked with coconut soda (if you're lucky and have fresh coconut water, it would taste even better), onion, garlic and a hint of good quality nước mắm (fish sauce). Even though the most of my family are vegetarians, if cooked properly, the scent of this seafood dish doesn't bother them.


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Ca Kho Gung Recipe (Catfish Recipe) Recipe

Cá bông lau, "catfish" in English, is a very common fish in Vietnamese cooking. There are numerous preparations, and I've shared some in the past. Today, I prepared a caramelized sauce made of ginger and kaffir lime leaves called cá kho gừng to go with the catfish. It gives the fish a lovely light brown color.

The addition of kaffir lime leaves and red chiles gives a special zing to this seafood dish. And as usual a bowl of freshly made white jasmine rice makes a superb pairing!


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