Clay Pot-Style Catfish in Caramel Sauce

At the Spice Table, Bryant Ng simmers traditional bone-in catfish steaks in a sweet-savory caramel sauce. The simpler version here calls for easier-to-find catfish fillets, which are just as delicious.

Slideshow: Fast Fish Recipes

Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4 to 6

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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • Two 1-inch pieces of peeled fresh ginger—1 cut into thin matchsticks, 1 cut into 8 thin rounds
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened coconut water
  • 6 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 Thai chiles, halved lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts only, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Four 8-ounce skinless catfish fillets, halved crosswise
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Steamed rice, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a small skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the ginger matchsticks and fry over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ginger to paper towels to drain.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of water. Cook over moderate heat until a deep amber caramel forms, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in another 2 tablespoons of water and cook over low heat until the caramel is dissolved, 1 minute. Add the fish sauce, palm sugar, black pepper and 3/4 cup of the coconut water and simmer over moderate heat until the caramel sauce is reduced to 1/2 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the ginger rounds, shallots, chiles and garlic and stir-fry over moderately high heat until the shallots are golden, about 3 minutes. Add the caramel sauce and scallions and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Nestle the catfish fillets in the sauce and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until caramelized and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the catfish fillets to a serving platter.

  4. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut water to the casserole and cook over low heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom, until the sauce is hot, about 3 minutes. Spoon the caramel sauce over the catfish. Scatter the fried ginger matchsticks and cilantro over the fish and serve with steamed rice.

Suggested Pairing

Lightly sweet German Riesling

Contributed By Photo © Christina Holmes

495328 recipes/clay-pot-style-catfish-caramel-sauce 2013-12-06T23:19:48+00:00 Bryant Ng asian|southeast-asian|4|6|fast|web-exclusive|weeknight-dinner recipes,clay-pot-style-catfish-caramel-sauce 495328

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