Vietnamese Clay Pot Braised Catfish (Cá Kho Tộ)

  • Preparation: 20 mins
  • Cooking: 20 mins
  • Skill level: Medium
  • Servings: 6

Description Vietnamese Clay Pot Braised Catfish (Cá Kho Tộ)

Vietnamese Clay Pot Braised Catfish (Cá Kho Tộ) is widely available and commonly eaten in Vietnamese Food. Although some people object to what they describe as the muddy flavor of this freshwater fish, others cannot get enough of this classic southern Vietnamese Clay Pot Braised Catfish, including one regular customer at The Slanted Door who orders this dish for dessert, often after having already eaten one as his main course. In Vietnamese Cuisine, catfish are typically butchered into steaks, not fillets, which is what you see most often in America. Bone-in steaks work best for Vietnamese Clay Pot Braised Catfish (Cá Kho Tộ), so you can either buy a whole cleaned fish and cut it up yourself, or ask the fishmonger to do it. Steamed rice is nice for soaking up the sauce.


  • 2 pounds catfish steaks, each about 1 inch thick
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1¼ cups caramel sauce
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 Thai chiles, stemmed and halved on the diagonal
  • 10 strands finely julienned fresh ginger
  • 4 cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Method Vietnamese Clay Pot Braised Catfish (Cá Kho Tộ)

1, Season the catfish steaks with black pepper and put them in a clay pot, saucepan, or high-sided frying pan large enough to accommodate them snugly in a single layer. Add the caramel sauce, stock, chiles, and ginger.
2, Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat so the liquid is at a simmer, cover partially, and cook for 6 minutes. Gently flip the catfish pieces, re-cover partially, and continue cooking for 6 minutes longer, until the flesh is beginning to pull away from the bone.
3, Garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately directly from the pot. If using a saucepan or frying pan, transfer to a platter, garnish with the cilantro, and serve.

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