Q:

How do you prepare Vietnamese basa fish?

A:

Quick Answer

Braising is a popular cooking method used in Vietnam for basa fish. You can cook the fish in a pot or using a traditional clay pot. The basa is slowly braised with fish sauce, vegetables, coconut juice or milk, and seasonings such as ginger, pepper, sugar, garlic and chilies. The fish cooks quickly but it’s advisable to let it simmer on a low heat in a covered pot for at least 30 minutes so that all the flavors come together.

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Full Answer

Braised basa is sometimes called Ca Kho in Vietnamese. You can prepare it using a regular pot or a traditional clay pot in which you initially shallow fry the fish with onions or shallots using chili oil and fish sauce. If you like hot flavors, you can add extra sliced chili or chili paste at this stage. After a few minutes, add brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper and let the mixture caramelize slightly. Some people like to marinade the basa fillets in salty water for a few hours before cooking it.

When the fish and the onions start to brown, add the coconut juice (or coconut milk for a richer taste). Cover and lower the heat. The fish steaks need to simmer for at least half an hour. You may need to check them occasionally and add more liquid if the braised fish looks too dry. The final dish should look caramelized and have a distinctive brown color. You can add more fish sauce, brown sugar or fresh cracked pepper to taste before serving.

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