VIET­NAMESE FISH HOT POT (CA KHO TO)

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

750g (1lb 10oz) firm white fish such as monk­fish or hal­ibut, chopped 150g (5½oz) golden caster sugar 3tbsp Asian fish sauce 3 cloves of gar­lic, peeled and finely chopped A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 5 shal­lots, peeled and finely chopped A bunch of spring onions, chopped into 2cm (¾in) pieces 2 whole red Thai or bird’s eye chill­ies, pricked A splash of ground­nut oil 400ml (14fl oz) co­conut wa­ter (from supermarkets) Jas­mine rice, greens and fresh lime, to serve First put your fish in a bowl to mar­i­nate with 50g (1¾oz) of the sugar, the fish sauce, gar­lic, ginger, shal­lots, spring onions, chill­ies and a pinch of black pep­per.

Mean­while make caramel. Place the re­main­ing sugar in a heavy-bot­tomed pan with 100ml (3½fl oz) of wa­ter and bring to the boil on medium heat. Don’t stir, just swirl oc­ca­sion­ally.Keep it boil­ing for 10 min­utes or un­til you have a golden caramel liq­uid.

Now cook the fish. Place a clay pot or earth­en­ware dish on a medium heat and add the oil. Add the fish, re­serv­ing the mari­nade, and seal for 2-3 min­utes al­to­gether. Pour in the mari­nade, caramel and co­conut wa­ter. Gen­tly bring to the boil then sim­mer, un­cov­ered, for 15-20 min­utes un­til the fish is cooked and the sauce is re­duced and sticky. If it looks too dry, add a lit­tle more co­conut wa­ter.

Serve im­me­di­ately with rice, greens and a squeeze of lime.

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