Tilapia is a white fluffy fish. It is one of my favorite fish to cook with. Very easy, quick and best yet it is very delicious. When I braised caramel any kind of fish, I normally add some kind of herb or even vegetable like tomatoes or onions to get rid of fishy smell. However, this time I did not use any of those on this tilapia fish recipe at all. And surprisingly, it comes to be one of my favorite fish dishes that I’ve ever cooked. Now, when come to caramel dish, most of our Vietnamese families do their caramel sauce on their own, which is a combination of sugar and oil, and let it cook until form a caramel color. I am not really good of doing it! I get it burn most of the time so I usually buy a dark soy sauce, which also gives you that really nice caramel sauce. But if you are familiar with doing your own caramel sauce, you can leave dark soy sauce part out. So let’s get this delicious braised tilapia to our dinner table, shall we~~
1 whole big tilapia fish
1tbsp finely chopped ginger,
1tbsp finely slice lemongrass
1tbsp (3-4 cloves) finely chopped garlic
2tbsp oyster sauce (dau hao)
1tsp black or white pepper
½ tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cooking wine (any kind)
1 tsp dark soy sauce (nuoc mau)
1¼ cup water
For the fish, when you buy, some are already cleaned and packed. For some market that I mostly find are in Asian store where you buy, you can ask fish cleaner or employee to clean and halve it for you. However, when you bring it home, make sure you clean it very well again. As I showed in the picture on your left, when you open the fish, you will see the black thing that attached to the fish. I don’t really know what it is call, but make sure to clean white on the inside. People make a lot of mistake when cooking fish, no matter what they put, they still find a strong fishy smell, well that black is the reason why as well as the vein that attached closely to the fish bone. So make sure to clean it very well.
In a round sauce pan or a pot (big enough to place the fish), heat 1tbsp cooking oil, and add in the ginger and lemongrass. Let it cook until slightly turn golden, then add in your garlic. Make sure you don’t walk away while in the process of frying ginger, lemongrass and garlic because it cooks really fast. When turn golden color, pour in 1¼ cup water, and add the rest of the ingredients (oyster sauce, black or white pepper, sugar, salt, cooking wine and dark soy sauce). Bring to a boil; add the fish, and let it cook for 3 to 5 minutes with the lid cover. Turn the fish over, lower the heat, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle any green on top for garnish. Serve it over jasmine rice or fry rice, whichever you prefer. Enjoy!!