Wow, this is so overdue!
I first read about Vietnamese caramel sauce in Bittman's How to Cook Everything or Best Recipes in the World. I was very intrigued; I had never heard about it before.
A while back, I tried it with prawns. It was a success! It was time to replicate it for a party setting. This time, trout acted as the protein.
First, I mixed some nam pla (fish sauce) and water together. I made sure I had this ready so I could add it to the caramel to stop its cooking.
Onto the caramel: I added some sugar and water to the pan and waited until the sugar dissolved. I waited a little bit more until it darkened. (It was a little difficult to judge the color of the caramel in this dark-colored pan.)
When the caramel reached the desired color, I quickly poured in the nam pla and water mixture. The caramel was mad and hissed at me.
I ignored its hissy fit and added some shallots and ginger. I'm not sure if the ginger is traditional; it's a Chinese thing to add ginger to fish. I also added black pepper and lime juice. When the shallots softened, I added the fish to the pan.
Umm, yeah, try not to crowd the pan like so.
It was a simple matter of waiting until the fish cooked. I believe I may have turned them once during cooking. We garnished with some cilantro because we're just a cilantro kind of people.
This was quite a hit at Dear Niece's party!
The caramel sauce was neither fishy nor sweet (for something that was made from the combination of fish sauce and sugar). It had a great depth to it from the caramelized sugar. Yet, it was actually quite delicate and the flavour of the trout came through and shone.
Best thing, this Vietnamese caramel sauce can be used in many different applications: fish, other seafood, beef, chicken, pork, ...
Andrea of Viet World Kitchen has more information on Vietnamese caramel sauce.
Vietnamese food at eatingclub vancouver
Squid with Black Pepper
Trout in Vietnamese Caramel Sauce
Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
Vietnamese Salmon Steaks with Cucumber, Garlic and Ginger
Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)
Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad (Goi Ga Bap Cai) on Sesame Rice Cracker (Banh Trang Me)
Vietnamese Spring Roll (Cha Gio)
Asparagus and Crab Egg Crêpes
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