Catfish Cooked in a Clay Pot (Ca Kho To)

One of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in our area has to be Huong Viet restaurant at Eden Center. They make, in my opinion, one of the best catfish in clay pot dishes; I always order that when I’m dining there. So I really wanted to recreate this savory and sweet dish in my own kitchen. This southern-style Vietnamese dish is actually very easy to make and quite tasty when served with a bowl of steaming jasmine rice.

Serving Size: 2
Cooking Time: 25 minutes


2 tbsp cane sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely diced
3 tbsp nuoc mam (fish sauce)
1/2 cup boiling water
16 oz catfish fillet, cut into 6 equal pieces
4 spring onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
fresh ground black pepper
chopped cilantro for garnish
cooked jasmine rice

Place the sugar in a heavy bottom pan and add 1 tbsp water to wet the sugar. Heat the pan over medium heat and stir the sugar/water mix until it turns brown, about 2 minutes. Add the sesame oil and garlic. Let the garlic cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the nuoc mam sauce into the caramel mixture and add 1/2 cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to cook together for about 5 minutes. Then toss in the catfish pieces, making sure they are well coated with the sauce. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low and let pot simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and season with freshly ground black pepper. Toss in the spring onions and gently stir. Let the mixture simmer for another 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve immediately with jasmine rice.

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