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Recipes, Fish

Simple Recipe for Making Ca Kho To [Vietnamese Fish Recipe]

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Ca kho to is a familiar rustic dish for Vietnamese people. With the sweetness of fish mixed with the salty taste of the fish sauce, the mild spicy chili, and the intense aroma of pepper, ca kho to is ready to “knock” anyone who enjoys it. Hence, many want to learn Vietnamese fish recipes and enjoy them at home. In this article, Tasty Touch will give you ca kho to recipe with a rich flavor.

What is ca kho to?

Ca kho to is a familiar and rustic dish in the South of Vietnam. The word “to” in the name of the dish refers to the method of stewing and storing the fish in a special earthenware pot, with the addition of a kind of water distilled from sugar to create an attractive color and flavor. These days, the earthenware pot is no longer used much, so people gradually store fish in metal pots or rice cookers.

Ca kho to recipe
Ca Kho To

Not only has an attractive taste, but braised fish also provides high nutritional value. Fish brings numerous vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin D, and omega-3, 6, 9 calcium, and DHA, which are beneficial for the heart, prevent atherosclerosis, strengthen bones, and enhance the immune system…

Vietnamese fish recipe: How to make ca kho to?

Simple Recipe for Making Ca Kho To [Vietnamese Fish Recipe]

Recipe by Anne Tran


Prep time


Cooking time





To ensure the quality of flavor for the pot of braised fish, you must know how to choose the proper ingredients, especially fish. High-quality fish usually has a moderate size, about 1.2 – 1.5kg, elongated body, and is not too round.


  • 900 grams of Vietnamese fish (including basa fish, snakehead fish, or other kinds of catfish)

  • 250grams bacon

  • ½ tbsp minced red onion

  • 2 teaspoons seasoning seeds

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sugar-colored water

  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce

  • ½ tbsp chili sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 200 ml coconut water

  • 200 ml of filtered water

  • Earthen pot


  • Step 1: Prepare fish
    First, beat the scales, cut off the loan, and the internal organs, rub salt on the surface of the fish, and wash it several times with water to remove the fishy smell of the fish.
    With basa and other catfish, you can use hot water to sprinkle the fish, then use a razor to clean the mucus in the skin to remove the fishy smell of the fish. To increase the effectiveness of the fishy deodorization, you can add salt, lemon, vinegar, or white wine to the fish. You should wash the fish with clean water about 1-2 times and then let it dry.
    Next, cut the fish into short pieces, add a little soy sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon seasoning, and 1 teaspoon fish sauce, and mix well. The simple secret of how to make delicious braised fish is to marinate the fish with spices for about 30 minutes. You should cut the fish into pieces 2.5 cm thick. With this size, the fish will absorb the spices evenly, but when stored, it will not be crushed.
    ca kho to recipen
  • Step 2: Prepare the remaining ingredients
    Next, you rub salt on the pork belly, wash it several times with water, let it dry, and cut it into slices. Next, you pick up the stalks of chili peppers, wash them, remove the seeds, and cut them into thin slices.
    Then, you take fresh coconut water into a bowl, add 120ml soy sauce and 50ml fish sauce, and stir well. Peel off, smash and chop the garlic and red onion, then you have completed the preliminary processing step in how to make ca kho to.
    ca kho to recipen
  • Step 3: Pre-fry the fish
    To make the fish firmer, when the stock is not broken, we will do a little frying.
    You put 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in the pan, wait for the oil to start heating, then put the fish in. In this step, be careful not to let the oil get too hot, it will easily burn your hands!
    You fry the fish with medium heat for about 2-3 minutes and flip the other side of the fried fish for another 2-3 minutes.
    ca kho to recipen
  • Step 4: Fish stock
    Next, heat it up on the stove and add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add minced onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, then add sliced ​​chili and stir-fry. Add pork belly and stir-fry again, then turn off the heat.
    Then, you put the snakehead fish in a bowl, put the marinade in it, add a bowl of coconut water, put it on the stove, and turn on high heat to stock the fish. When the fish pot boils, you start to lower the heat, re-seasoning to taste.
    In this step, you should pay attention that the sauce must cover the surface of the fish, so that the fish is cooked and evenly absorbed. You observe, after adding the sauce and you see that the sauce is a bit small, you can add a little more boiling water!
    When starting to stock fish, you keep the fire at a moderate level. When the water boils, we turn the heat down to low and cover the pot of braised fish.
    After 10 minutes, open the lid and flip the fish gently. Continue, braising the fish with low heat until the water in the pot runs out. You continue to let the fire simmer for another 30 minutes until the water dries up and starts to compare, then turn off the stove, and add the chopped scallions to make the braised fish more beautiful and fragrant.
    ca kho to recipe
  • Step 5: Completed ca kho to
    The fish juice is still infiltrated and thickened, you can sprinkle some ground pepper on top to add more flavor to the dish.
    Finally, you use scallions, and coriander on top to decorate the dish beautifully. Thus, we have completed the way to make delicious ca kho to right at home.
    The color of fish fiber and dark yellow bacon are eye-catching and attractive. Let’s eat with rice to feel the salty, sweet, and slightly spicy taste when enjoying this ca kho to.
    ca kho to recipen

Recipe Video

Tips for making ca kho to

  • In addition to snakehead fish, there are other types of braised fish such as basa, carp, catfish, trout… 
  • If you make braised fish for young children, you can choose fish such as: fish howling, pangasius krempfi, and basa fish… which have fewer bones.
  • While storing, you should not stir the fish many times, even more, do not mix because it will crush the fish.
  • In addition to salt water and vinegar, you can use white wine or make use of rice water to remove the fishy smell of fish. The step of removing fishy odors is extremely important because they will directly affect the braised fish dish.
  • You should prepare some boiled vegetables to serve with ca kho to and hot rice.

With the above method of making ca kho to from Tasty Touch, you can confidently process the dish with a delicious and rich flavor to entertain the whole family. Surely, with the appearance of this dish, hope your family’s meal will become increasingly interesting.

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