Vietnamese Style Caramelized Catfish

It is safe to say that catfish is one of the most widely accepted fish to eat. With catfish being eaten around the world. They are both farmed, and caught by your average fisherman. It is a humble fish, being very affordable to buy, and within reach of anyone willing to sink a line.

I’m willing to bet 95% of the catfish caught in the United States take their last swim in a ripping hot pot of grease. Dredged in batter, deep fried, and served with the dealer’s choice of sauce. They are a great fish for the fryer not doubt about it, but there is a world of flavors this fish has to offer.

Some species of catfish are less desirable to the majority in terms of flavor than others. Theories on size, water source, water temperature, time of year, primary food source all being mentions as to why. Amounts of fat left on fillets during cleaning is a major factor, trim off any fat and this will greatly improve quality of the fish. Western Colorado channel catfish were used here, but blue cats or flatheads would good work as well.



  • 2 Lbs of Catfish (cut into 1″ strips)
  • 1/4 C of Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 C Fish Sauce
  • 1/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1 t Black Pepper
  • 2-3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
  • Green Onions (garnish)

Time to Cook : 25 Minutes Servings : 4

Step 1

Heat a skillet on medium/high heat with oil. Season catfish with black pepper, and place in hot skillet with minced garlic.


Step 2

Cook the catfish until browned, about 3 or for minutes per side. Mix together fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and water, and pour right into the pan.

Step 3

Simmer and reduce the liquid in the pan. This will braise the fish a little further, and create that iconic sticky, sweet sauce. Reduce only until the sauce coats the fish well, being careful not to burn. About 4-5 minutes on medium/high heat should reduce it fine, but best keep an eye on it.

Step 4

When the sauce is thickened toss the fish around in it to coat each piece.

Step 5

Choose your starch, be it noodles or rice. Plate with the caramelized catfish on top and garnish with sliced onions.


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