Sunday, April 25, 2010
Catfish in Caramel Sauce
This past week was a sweet-n-savory week for me. In honor of my hankering, you’ll learn two Vietnamese recipes that incorporate caramel and fish sauce. To the uninitiated, these two ingredients are like Romeo and Juliet; the relationship may seem to defy the stars but it’s as natural as that light through yonder window.
The first of these two recipes is for catfish simmered in a caramel sauce.
1-½ lbs catfish steaks, 1-inch thick
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoons black pepper
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1. Put the catfish into a large glass bowl and coat evenly with brown sugar, pepper, salt and fish sauce. Set aside.
2. In a shallow pan large enough for all the catfish to fit snugly in a single layer, caramelize the sugar with the oil and half of the water over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the caramel is a deep dark color but before it smokes.
3. Add the rest of the water and bring back to a simmer. The caramel will seize and there will be a lot of sizzling but when it simmers again, the sugar will dissolve.
4. Add the garlic and catfish. Be sure to pour in all of the fish sauce mixture collected at the bottom of the bowl. Return to simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the liquid reduces to about half. Flip the catfish half way through cooking.
5. Serve with rice and your favorite boiled green vegetable. The sauce is edible liquid gold. Pour it over rice and try to have sauce, rice and fish in every bite you take.