27 May 2012

Recipe a Day: Vietnamese Sweet and Spicy Fish

Another easy fish recipe that's really quick to prepare.  My husband calls it barbecue fish which I think is an insult to it.

I do cheat with this one because it uses fish sauce and I can't get that here.  I brought some with me, and my mother did too when she visited, and she has mailed some to us.  If I didn't have fish sauce, I would use soy sauce which is easy to find here (although it's better to get it at a Chinese grocery- the stuff labeled in Russian and sold around town is pretty nasty).  Soy sauce changes the flavor (and you'd be allowed to call it barbecue fish then), but it would still be yummy.

Also, don't tell my oldest that I used an entire 1/4 cup of fish sauce for one recipe, because we're trying to ration our last bottle so it lasts till we leave in a few weeks.

Here's what you'll need:

1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup brown or date sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons or so of oil
1 small chopped onion, or a chopped shallot, or one bunch of green onions
2-4 cloves minced garlic
1 pound fish
1/2-1 tsp cayenne, or to taste
A bit of something green if you used onions or shallots, optional

Combine the water and sugar and stir to dissolve.

Then add the fish sauce and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pot.  Actually a smallish skillet would be better, but I don't have one.  Maybe this series is to show you that you can cook almost anything in this one pot. Add the onions or shallots (if you use green onions, don't add them yet) and garlic and stir-fry for a minute or two.

Then add the fish and cook briefly on the first side.

Then flip and cook briefly again.

Add the cayenne

And the sauce (the sugar here never all dissolves).

And bring to a boil.

I added some jusay because I like to have something green in there.  If you're using green onions, add them now.  Keep the heat fairly high because you're going to cook the sauce down now. Keep an eye on it to make sure it's not burning.  Cook for about 5 minutes on the first side.

Then flip the fish and cook for 5 more minutes, again keeping an eye on the sauce and lowering the heat if needed.

And serve.  We always eat with this rice and I served this with the stir-fried jusay I posted yesterday.  I like to eat something a little sour with this.

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