Vietnamese Fried Fish with Tomato Sauce (Ca Chien Sot Ca Chua)
When I was little, I used to love eating canned sardines in tomato sauce. Dad did most of the cooking and he was never a good cook. This meant canned sardines were on frequent rotations. We simply reheat it in the microwave and have it with steamed white rice. On fancy days, we would reheat it on the stove-top with a sprinkle of green onions.
Fortunately, my palette has gotten more sophisticated. Now if I want fish with tomato sauce, I opt for fried fish with a sauce made from fresh tomatoes (Ca Chien Sot Ca Chua). I love the combination of crispy savory fish and sweet-yet-slightly-tart tomato sauce. However, sometimes I still find myself reaching for those canned sardines in tomato sauce at the supermarket. Somethings are just hard to change =)
Vietnamese Fried Fish with Tomato Sauce Recipe (Ca Chien Sot Ca Chua)
2 large fillets of preferred fish (here I used salmon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons corn starch
2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large shallot (slice thinly)
2 large garlic cloves (mince)
1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 cup fresh tomatoes (whole cherry or chopped tomatoes)
Sliced green onions (optional)
Season the fish liberally with salt and pepper. Then coat the fish with corn starch. Dust off excess.
In a large frying pan, heat up vegetable oil. Pan-fry both sides of fish until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with table towels to absorb excess oil. Remove excess oil from pan, leaving a thin layer.
Add garlic and shallots to pan and saute until fragrant.
Add canned crushed tomatoes and water. Simmer on low for 2-3 minutes for all the flavors to come together.
Season with sugar and fish sauce.
Add chopped or whole cherry tomatoes. Continue to cook until slightly wilted.
Ladle tomato sauce onto fried fish and garnish with green onions.