Vietnamese Catfish in a Clay Pot (Ca Kho To)
What an excitingly different way to have catfish! Serves 2-3 or more if other entrees are included as part of the meal.
- Ready In:
- 1hr 2mins
For the Caramel Sauce
- 3 ounces fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 fresh lime, juice of (no seeds)
For the Fish
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 stalk lemongrass (light part only, cut into 1-2 inch lengths)
- 1 lb catfish fillet
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoons chicken stock (may use broth) or 3 tablespoons fish stock (may use broth)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
- fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- 3 ounces baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil leaf
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 3 cups steamed cooked jasmine rice (to serve) (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Place clay pot or covered roasting pan into oven to preheat.
- Place 3 ounces fish sauce and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan, and use whisk to blend until sugar dissolves. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking until mixture comes to a boil, then stop stirring, and swirl mixture in pan for 12 minutes or so, until it becomes golden, foamy, and slightly thick.
- Remove from heat, and when mixture has cooled and foam settled somewhat, stir in lime juice until sauce is blended.
- In the bottom of the clay pot or roaster, place oil, shallots, garlic, and chopped lemongrass.
- Cover clay pot or roaster and cook at 450°F for 10 minutes.
- Remove pot from oven and add catfish fillets in a single layer. Cover pot and cook at 450°F for 5 minutes.
- Remove pot from oven and add mushrooms and caramel sauce. Cover pot and cook at 450°F for 5 minutes.
- Mix together remaining fish sauce, broth, water, and sugar until blended.
- Remove pot from oven and add broth mixture and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Return pot to oven and cook, UNCOVERED, for 10 minutes at 450°F.
- Remove pot from oven and cover fish and mushrooms with spinach, basil, and chopped scallion. Cover pot and cook at 450°F for 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve fish and vegetables with hot steamed jasmine rice.
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