Caramel Coated Catfish Recipe -
Caramel Coated Catfish Recipe
  • READY IN 45 mins

Caramel Coated Catfish

Recipe by  

"Catfish cooked Vietnamese style, coated in a caramel fish sauce."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    30 mins

    45 mins


  1. Mix 1/3 cup of water with the fish sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Combine shallots, garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a separate bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of sugar in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar turns deep golden brown. Gently stir in the fish sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in the shallot mixture and cook until shallots soften, then add the catfish. Cover and cook the catfish until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 5 minutes on each side. Place catfish on a large plate, cover, and set aside. Increase heat to high and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Stir in the lime juice and any sauce that has collected on the plate. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce has reduced. Pour sauce over the catfish and garnish with green onions and cilantro.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Dec 02, 2009

This is definitely a keeper. I substituted the shallots for 1/2 a white onion. I also substituted lemon for lime and did not have any cilantro. It still came out great! Thanks Everret!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 27, 2012

Didn't turn out anything like it looks in the picture. It was so mushy and wet. I dried the fish on paper towel before I cooked it too.


13 Ratings

Feb 11, 2010

Wow! Best fish I've had in a long time. Thanks for the great recipe! My boyfriend was a skeptic about caramelized fish sauce but it was beautiful! I found the sauce to be a bit spicy for my taste so I think I will reduce the amount of pepper flakes and black pepper the next time. I also used raw sugar instead of white (we try to eat a little more organically around here) and it still worked fine. I also squeezed fresh lime juice onto the final dish in addition to the lime in the sauce. And I don't think the cilantro is necessary though we used it and it was still good. Beautiful recipe! We'll definitely be eating this again!

May 21, 2011

I was afraid this was going to be too sweet but it wasn't. I didn't have fish sauce so I substituted Worcestershire sauce (as it is made from anchovies I've been told) and it added enough saltiness not to have to add anymore. The deep mahogany color is beautiful and the flavor is like a teriyaki sauce but more complex. I cut down on the cooking time just a bit (about 3-1/2 minutes each side) and it came out fine. I also left out the cilantro but that's because I thought the taste would overpower the fish.

Jan 01, 2014

This is a very simple dish, if all the prep is done, then it takes about 20 minutes. There is a trick not mentioned here; after you caramelize the sugar, the water you add needs to be hot, otherwise that sugar will clump and stick to everything. You can wait until it remelts, but trust me, adding hot water is easier. I also wonder if you need to add so much water at the beginning when caramelizing the sugar, since it really doesn't start browning until most of the water has evaporated. I found I had to add hot water in small amounts as I cooked the fish, so it didn't get too thick or burn. I did not have to cook it down at all. I don't think the green onions and cilantro at the end add too much, other than that a fine recipe.

Jan 19, 2012

Absolutely fantastic. The catfish looked pretty iffy at the market so I substituted haddock. If I made it again I would decrease the pepper- I enjoyed the recipe as is but it had too much bite for my kids. This is a recipe I will definitely be making again!

Jul 08, 2010

pretty good....used brown sugar... and white onion from the didn't know if they liked it or not....but then again they aren't big fish eaters....served over brown rice....cilantro on top was my favorite.....;)...thanks

Aug 30, 2014

I've not tried this EXACT receipe but I have made caramel fish / chicken wings on other ocassions and LOVE it big time... have become a bit of an expert on the caramel sauce since I've made it a hundred times now and I luv it BIG time!


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  • Calories
  • 404 kcal
  • 20%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 24.1 g
  • 8%
  • Cholesterol
  • 107 mg
  • 36%
  • Fat
  • 17.4 g
  • 27%
  • Fiber
  • 0.8 g
  • 3%
  • Protein
  • 36.8 g
  • 74%
  • Sodium
  • 676 mg
  • 27%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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