Braised and caramelized fish

I totally didn’t expect my hubby to be this handsome.

Courtesy of 6-year-old. Happy Father’s Day!

Vietnamese braised and caramelized fish

(Adapted from Vanh Khuyen Le)

2 lbs sardines (or salmon, catfish, mackerels, etc.)
2 tbs sugar
8 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp chili paste (to taste)
2 tbs sugar + 2 tbs water
1 tbs canola oil
3 garlic cloves (peeled, finely chopped)
1 shallot (peeled, finely chopped)
a small bunch of scallions (green and white parts separated, chopped)
200 ml coconut water

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 tbs sugar + 8 tbs fish sauce + 1 tsp ground pepper + chili paste.
  2. Add sardines, cover, and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbs sugar + 2 tbs water over medium heat.
  4. Once the sugar is caramelized, add 1 tbs canola oil to stabilize the caramel.
  5. Add chopped garlic + chopped shallot + chopped scallions (only the white part) and fry until fragrant.
  6. Add sardines in one layer and fry both sides over medium heat.
  7. Pour the remaining marinated sauce into the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes.
  8. Add coconut water and cook uncovered until most water evaporates, about 30 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle chopped green scallions before serving.