Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ca Kho To - Vietnamese Catfish In Caramel Sauce

This post comes with a stink factor warning. For those of you unfamiliar with the pungent odor of fish sauce you must prepare yourself for this recipe by opening some windows and turning on all fans in the house full blast. Now, it doesn't stink like durian or anything, but the fishy-ness has been known to be a sticking point in some relationships. Phu Quoc is a island of Vietnam where the fish sauce made is supposed to be especially tasty aka stinky. I heard from someone that it had something to do with the fish diet of squid, but don't know if that's true. Do you know if it is true?

I must admit that I used this recipe but added some vegetables because I am from the "more matters" school of thought. More vegetables that is and not just more of everything!! Now this dish is traditionally made in a claypot, but since I am not lucky enough to own one of those, I made it in my medium sized metal pot and then transferred into a ceramic dish to serve.

The recipe that I followed said something about "smoking slightly", but I would like to vote for more of a moderate smoking factor when I added the fish sauce to the caramelized sugar. But the finished product sure was worth it!


nooschi said...

Despite the stink warnings, that actually looks good! Is it a sweet dish?

Jenny T. said...

Hi Nooschi,

It was quite tasty and made it into the top 5 favourites of my hubby, E's list of "Jenny T made favs". It is a bit sweet -- you can definitely taste the caramelized sugar, but the saltiness of the fish sauce and spiciness of the chili balances it out well. I'm not much of a sweet-ophile, as I prefer the umani (I could eat pickles and sausages all day) and I like it, so it must not be too sweet!