Vietnamese Claypot Fish
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Hailed as Vietnamese everyday soul food, Vietnamese Claypot Fish (Ca Kho To) offers a complex mix of flavors in a single bite. Sweet from the caramel sauce and salty from the fish sauce, it embodies what Vietnamese home cooking is all about, frugal but flavorful and simple but satisfying. Above all, it's utterly delicious!
Recipe type: Fish/Seafood
Cuisine: Asian/Vietnamese
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1½ lbs. fish fillets (cod or catfish), cut into serving sizes
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion or several small shallots (about ½ cup sliced)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 2- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ¼ cup chicken stock (unsalted) or water
  • (Optional) 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or garlic chili
  • (Optional) ½ cup each of the following: pineapple chunks, cherry tomatoes (sliced in half), sweet peppers (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • A handful each of the following herbs: green onions, basil (Thai if possible, if nor regular basil), mint, cilantro
  1. Heat the oil in a claypot or skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, and onion/shallots. Stir until garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes, then add the fish pieces.
  3. Cook until fish pieces turn opaque, flipping them once, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the caramel sauce and stir gently until fish absorbs the sauce.
  5. Add the fish sauce, the optional sambal oelek/garlic chili, and chicken stock. Reduce heat to simmer.
  6. Simmer uncovered until the sauce has slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the optional vegetables and pineapple, placing them between pieces of fish. Cook for another 2 minutes or until all vegetables and pineapple are heated through.
  8. Remove from heat and serve right out of claypot, if using. Garnish with fresh herbs. Wonderful served with jasmine rice!
Caramel Sauce recipe adapted from Viet World Kitchen & Fish recipe adapted from Birgerbird
Recipe by Fiesta Friday at