Vietnamese Fish Recipes

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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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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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Poached Carp Fillet Recipe Recipe

Poached Carp Fillet Recipe

07.23.12 by Jackie

Today I found beautiful silver carp fish fillets at the market. I decided to oven poach the fillets, which makes the preparation pretty quick. The cooking time is very approximate as it depends on the size of the fillets and the baking dish. I usually watch the fish closely as soon as the poaching liquid starts bubbling. The fish will become opaque and will shrink up slightly when it's done.  

I made a caramel sauce to accompany the fillets using sugar, coconut soda, fish stock, leeks, wasabi, kaffir lime leaves and black pepper. It’s so tasty, it could make just about anything taste great!


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Vietnamese Braised Catfish in Fish Sauce (Ca Kho) Recipe

Cá kho literally translates to "braised fish". I cooked catfish steaks in a caramel fish sauce and let simmer until the delicate, flaky fish became an opaque white color for this fairly common Vietnamese dish.

I served the seafood dish with brown jasmine rice and leafy greens. I'm on day 2 of my "back-into-shape" plan, but don't worry, flavor is not being sacrificed!


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Cha Ca Thang Long Recipe: Vietnamese Dill Fish with Turmeric  Recipe

Chả cá thăng long is a pan-fried dill fish dish. Try saying that three times in a row! The yellow hue comes from aromatic turmeric powder. Unlike Indian and Middle-Eastern cooking, dill -called thì là in Vietnamese- is not a very common ingredient in Southern Vietnamese cooking save for a few seafood dishes. Dill has a unique fresh flavor; it's sautéed in the same pan where the fish was pan-fried, then mixed back with the turmeric fish. The moisture from the herbs keeps the fish from drying out.

My family is originally from Cầnthõ and Sàigòn (Southern Vietnam) but my mother took me to Hànội (Norththern Vietnam) when I was seventeen. This dill fish recipe originates from that region. That's why it's also known as chả cá Hànội. You also might find it as chả cá lã vọng on some Vietnamese restaurant menus. If you're looking for a healthy dish, a meal composed of fish and cold rice vermicelli noodles (called bún in Vietnamese), might be the perfect fix.


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