There’s more to Vietnamese Cuisine than just Pho, Banh-Mi, and Summer-Rolls. And If you truly want to know what Vietnamese Cuisine is all about, you’ll have to try “Cá Kho Tộ” which means “Fish Braised in a Clay Pot. ”Unlike any other Vietnamese Dish, this recipe consists of Vietnam’s staple ingredients [fish sauce, palm sugar, peppercorns, and fish]. And it is my argument, that there isn’t any other recipe that highlights Vietnam’s heritage and history, more than “Cá Kho Tộ. In the Vietnamese-America Diaspora, Catfish (an economical choice for most refugee communities) is commonly used for this recipe. However, this cooking technique can be applied to almost any other type of seafood. My favorite is Sakana Blue Yellowtail (aka Hamachi) because it braises like pork-belly due to its high-fat content; succulent, juicy, and tender.
Step 1 -
Preheat a heavy-bottom (4 Qt.) pot on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Step 2 -
Add 2 cups of Palm Sugar and 1/4 cup of water.
Step 3 -
Allow the pot to boil (undisturbed) until a deep amber caramel forms, or 20 minutes.
Step 4 -
Gradually add 1/2 cup of Son Fish Sauce to the caramel.
Step 5 -
Then add 2 tbsp. of Cracked Black Pepper, 1/2 a Serrano, 1/4 cup of Sliced Ginger, 1 tbsp. of Minced Lemongrass, and 1/2 cup of Coconut Water.
Step 6 -
Allow the pot to boil (undisturbed) until the pot has reduced by 15%, or 30 minutes.
Step 7 -
Turn the pot down to a simmer. Then gently add your Yellowtail portions.
Step 8 -
Bring the pot to a simmer.
Step 9 -
Braise the Yellowtail for 30 minutes, at a gentle simmer.
Step 10 - Assemble
Step 11 -
Present braised fish in a large clay or ceramic pot.
Step 12 -
Garnish with chives, sliced serranos, and Thai bird chili.
Step 13 -
Serve with a side of rice.
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