Monday, September 29, 2008

Yum! (again)

My main dish:

Vietnamese caramelized salmon
Serves: 3-4
Prep and cook time: 20 minutes

  • (2 tbsp) sugar.
  • (1 tsp) canola oil. I use canola oil in most of my cooking (other than Italian), because it has the lowest saturated fat content.
  • (1 lb) salmon fillet.
  • (1) medium yellow or red onion. Cut into quarters, then sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  • (3) cloves garlic, minced.
  • (2 tsp) fish sauce. Found at any Vietnamese grocery store. It's a staple in Vietnamese cooking. It's called "nuoc mam" in Vietnamese.
  • Optional: 1-2 chiles.
  1. Place sugar in pan on medium heat. Watch closely, because you're looking for a caramel.
  2. When it starts to become light brown, add the oil.
  3. Add onions and garlic and chile (optional).
  4. Place salmon skin side down in pan.
  5. Cook for ~2 minutes, then flip over, making sure to keep whole fillet intact.
  6. Keep on low to medium heat so that the sauce slowly thickens. If it becomes too thick, add some water to reconstitute.
  7. Done when the salmon is done. You can continue to cook if you want, to boil down the sauce.
This is my take on a classic Vietnamese dish called "ca kho" (and very similar to another dish made with pork called "thit kho"). There are many ways of going about making it and you can just do a google search and finds dozens upon hundreds of recipes. I myself make it very different ways too. You can make it with all kinds of fish, with catfish being traditional (and one of my favorites - but preparing it is much more labor-intensive). Some people add chiles (like myself), some add ground pepper (like my mom).

I hope am hoping to do more Vietnamese dishes, but they have to come as they come.

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