Vietnamese Fish Sauce Recipes

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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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Ca Nuc Kho (Traditional Vietnamese Whole Mackerel in Sugarcane Sauce) Recipe

Cá nục kho mía literally translates to "mackerel braised in sugarcane sauce". It's the fish traditionally served in  a Vietnamese claypot. The dark caramel ginger sauce is made from galangal and sugarcane juice (nước mía in Vietnamese).

Mackerel is high in Omega 3 oils but can have a strong fishy flavor. There are several steps that can be taken to ensure this dish is absolutely delicious. First, when you're at the market, make sure the fish is fresh; fresh mackerel shouldn't smell fishy. Look for clear-eyed fish with bright, shiny scales. The second step is to clean the inside of the fish thoroughly in several water baths and let the fish rest in a vinegary solution for a few minutes. The last part is to use a lot of shallots and galangal, which has a sharper, more aromatic flavor than ginger. It's slightly more expensive than ginger but it's well worth it.

I served the fish with steamed jasmine rice and sautéed rau muống (Vietnamese pea shoot tendrils) with fresh chestnuts and wood ear mushrooms.


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Ca Kho (Braised Catfish in Vietnamese Fish Sauce) Recipe

Cá kho tộ ("braised fish" in Vietnamese) is delicious catfish simmered in a caramelized sauce with garlic, ginger, green onions, fish sauce and red chiles. What I love most about the dish is eating steamed jasmine rice with the sauce made with coconut soda.

I love seafood, but the vegetarians in my home aren't always happy with the aroma of fish wafting through the house. Braising fish in nước mắm gives a strong smell to this dish, so I don't make it very often, even though I love it.


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Vietnamese Meatloaf (Mam Chung Thit) Recipe

Mắm chưng thịt is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. It's a blend of pork or chicken, crab meat, salted fish fillet in brine, bean thread noodles, mushrooms and eggs.

For this recipe, I used a mix of chicken breast and thighs. The flavor is reminiscent of the filling of a meat egg roll combined with the strong flavor of salted fish fillet in nước mắm (brine). The most common fish used for making steam fish cakes is snakehead fish, though mackerel or catfish can be used as well.


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