Vietnamese Caramel Fish
A tablespoon of coconut water helped the sugar caramelize faster, getting us the deep coffee color we were after in just minutes. We avoided burning the caramel by adding more liquid, which also released the flavors of the aromatics. The rate that the sugar caramelizes and the water evaporates depends on your burner and the thickness and diameter of your pot; keep a close eye on the caramel to prevent it from burning and becoming bitter. We liked serving the fish and its flavorful sauce over rice.
tablespoon plus ½ cup coconut water
cup white sugar
01In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, bring 1 tablespoon of coconut water and the sugar to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to color at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the sugar is mahogany-colored, 1 to 3 minutes. Off heat, add the fish sauce and whisk until smooth (the mixture will steam and bubble vigorously). Add the remaining ½ cup of coconut water and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the shallots, ginger and zest. Return to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
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