Cá Kho Tộ (Caramelized Catfish in Clay Pot)




1 Catfish (about 4 lbs), ask  to have your fish clean and cut into 1 inch thick steaks

3 tablespoons Brown Sugar

3 tablespoons Olive Oil or cooking Oil

3 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped or 

1 tablespoon Garlic Powder

3 Shallots, finely chopped

3 tablespoons julienned fresh Ginger

4 tablespoons Fish Sauce 

1 teaspoon Ground Pepper

2-3 Red Chili Peppers, optional


Preparing Fish

Wash fish steaks and pat dry. Set it aside.  Save the fish tail and head to make soup.


Braising Fish

Bring a pan to high heat.  Add oil and sugar.  

As soon as the sugar starts turning brown, reduce heat to medium.  Add ginger, garlic and shallots.  

Cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant, add fish in a single layer.  

Gently flip the fish with a spatula over after a minute.  Add fish sauce, garlic powder and black pepper.  Twirl the pan to distribute the sauce evenly.  Now toss a few whole red chili peppers  in the pan if preferred.  

If your kids will enjoy this dish with you, be careful not to smash the peppers or remove the stems from the peppers as this will unleash a scorching flavor on the fish.  Cover with the lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.  

During the simmering process, gently turn the fish over with a spatula occasionally to coat both sides with the caramel sauce; use a spoon to spoon the sauce over the fish until it's fully coated.  When the sauce is thicken and the fish steaks are covered with rich brown color, you know it's time to bring out the white rice and fresh slices of cucumber.