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Caramel-Braised Cod

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.



  • 1 tsp. dried red chile flakes; more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 lb. cod fillets, 1 inch thick
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. fish sauce
  • Cooked jasmine rice or other long-grain rice for serving
  • 1 scallion (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size with 1/2 cup rice
  • Calories (kcal) : 380
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 70
  • Fat (g): 8
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 75
  • Sodium (mg): 1280
  • Carbohydrates (g): 41
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 33


  • Combine the chile flakes, salt, and 1 tsp. sugar in a small bowl. Rub the fish with half of the mixture and set aside. Combine the other half of the mixture with 1/4 cup water, the oil, and the fish sauce; set aside.
  • Put the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large, heavy-based sauté pan with straight sides and cook over high heat until the sugar starts to melt at the edges and turns golden brown, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium when the sugar starts browning and stir energetically with a wooden spoon. When the caramel is a reddish mahogany brown (another 1 to 2 minutes), take the pan off the heat. Stirring gently, slowly add 1/2 cup water to the pan; be careful, as the caramel may steam or spatter. If the caramel doesn’t dissolve completely, return the pan to medium heat and stir until dissolved. Stir in the fish sauce mixture.

  • Put the fish in a single layer in the sauté pan. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat and braise the fish, uncovered; use a soupspoon to baste the fish with the sauce occasionally. After about 7 minutes, gently flip the fish and continue to braise and baste until the fish is opaque throughout, another 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with the sauce over the rice, sprinkled with the scallion slices.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • FSO | 01/09/2010

    This is a good recipe, and the fish turned out very nicely. However, I had trouble with getting the caramel to come out right. When I added the water, it turned into crystallized lumps. I couldn't get the lovely color and texture in either the recipe photo or the Vietnamese restaurants here in northern Virginia. My family likes hot and spicy food, so the amount of chili pepper was fine for us. It was a notable blast of heat, and cutting back a bit wouldn't hurt. I'll likely make this again, and see if I can get the sauce to turn out better.

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