Vietnamese Fish Simmered in Caramel Sauce (Ca Kho To)

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Total Time
5 mins
45 mins

This is one of my favorite dishes at a local Vietnamese restaurant. I searched around the internet for the recipe and this is what a came up with. I just made this tonight and am quite surprised how close it taste to the restaurant version. It is normally made in a clay pot but a 2-quart saucepan will suffice. Beware, fish sauce is a very pungent ingredient.

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  1. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, cook the sugar over low to medium heat, swirling the pan constantly, until brown and caramelized.
  2. Remove pan from heat and stir the fish sauce into the caramel.
  3. It will smoke slightly.
  4. Return the pan to low heat and gently boil for about couple minutes while stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Stir in the shallots, chili and ginger.
  6. Add the fish in the caramel sauce and sprinkle with black pepper.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.
  9. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, turning the fish occasionally and carefully.
  10. Serve with rice.