Vietnamese Caramelized Fish (Cá Kho)


VN:F [1.9.9_1125]
(4 Ratings)

Preparation time
10 mins

Cooking time
1 hour 30 mins


Vietnamese braised fish in caramelized fish sauce. For more photos and recipes, please visit my blog at Danang Cuisine.

Vietnamese Caramelized Fish (Cá Kho), 3.8 out of 5 based on 4 ratings


  • 4 (600g/1.3lbs) catfish steaks (or any other kind)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • spring onion, chopped
  • black pepper
  • optional: ginger, hot pepper


1.  Cut fish into 1.5 inch thick steaks. Clean well and pat dry. Place nicely in a sauce pan or claypot.

2.  In a pan on medium heat, add vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons sugar. Gently shake the pan, do not stir. When the sugar is melted and turns caramel, add minced garlic and minced shallot and fry until fragrant. Quickly pour onto the fish.

2.  In a bowl dissolve fish sauce with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar and pour onto the fish. Also add pepper. Marinate for at least 30 minutes (or better 1-2 hours if you have time).

3.  Over high heat, bring the marinated fish to boil. If the fish produce too little liquid, you can add 1/2 cup coconut juice or hot water. Occasionally swirl the sauce pan to coat the fish evenly with the caramel sauce. Add ginger strips and hot pepper if you like spicy. Turn the heat to low and cook for 20 mins. Gently turn the fish over and continue to simmer on low heat for another 20-30 minutes until the sauce thickens and the fish has become firm and has a nice caramel color.

4.  Garnish with chopped spring onion and black pepper. Served with hot steamed rice. For more photos and recipes, please visit my blog at Danang Cuisine.

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