How to Make “Cá Kho Tộ”

posted in: How-To's, Vietnamese Food | 0

How to make braised fish in claypot… Cách làm cá kho tộ

Braised Fish in Claypot
A Traditional Vietnamese Dish


  • Fish – anabas testudineus/the climbing perch from the rice field
    – If you don’t have this type of fish, you can substitute to any fish you like likes snakeheads, catfish, basa, salmon,… however, its tasting is far from the traditional ones.
  • Seasoning – salt, pepper, fish sauce, coconut extract food color or dark caramel,brown sugar, garlic, shallot, young coconut water, scallion,
  • Fresh vegetable (optional) – water spinach, cucumber, mint, tomato

Here are steps by steps how it is done.

  1. Get a clay pot
    If you don’t have a clay pot, you can use saucepan/pot.
    If you’re unable to cook the clay pot on the stove, you can place it in the oven.
    Once again, the taste is difference from the traditional ones if substituted.
  2. Add fish, dark coconut caramel (using chopstick, flip back and forth allowing 2 side of the fish are stamped with coconut caramel), brown sugar, salt, some ground garlic, couple sliced shallots.  Add each at a time.
  3. Flip back & forth the fish for couple times.  Add ground black pepper and some chunk scallions.
  4. Cover and leave there 15-30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.  If leaving the fridge overnight, should use bowl with cover instead of a saucepan, then transfer to the saucepan next day.
  5. Place the saucepan on the stove, turn on the stove and cook.
  6. When the fish is on high boil, add coconut water.
  7. Let it boils again, turn the heat to medium and continue cooking until the fish is cooked (no longer has any water left).
  8. When it’s done, add some scallion and then cook it a little bit more.
  9. Turn off the stove and then sprinkle some black pepper on the top of the fish.  If you have some pork fat liquid or cooking oil, you can drop some around the pot and on the top of the cooked fish.


  • Eat with white rice and vegetable especially mints, herbal, cucumber, green banana,…


  • When the fish is cooked, it turn to golden color and looked yummy.
  • At the moment at the final stage, right just before adding scallion, you may flip another side of the fish up.
  • Traditional way, “cá kho tộ” was cooked by wooden stove.  The smell of burned wood makes you having great feeling, having tasty food and eating more.
  • Snakehead fish
    What is snakehead fish? –
    How does snakehead fish look like?  Just type “ca loc” or “cá lóc” as searching key on the search engine.
  • Anabas testudineus or climbing perch fish
    What is it?  –, –
    How does it look like?  As we just mentioned above, just typed one of these keywords, “ca ro dong” or “cá rô đồng”, in the search engine and then there is a bunch of images will open up.

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