I know Tet holiday in Vietnam (Lunar New Year for several Asian countries) has ended today. But it’s not late to introduce this traditional Vietnamese braised fish coz it’s a good serve for any dinner, or any lunch, or any brunch, or …even breakfast. Braised fish is very simple, except you have to give the fish a long time to be fully cooked. Do not use deep sea fish coz it would loose its smell if braised. Fish which resides in sweet water like river works best for braise.
Any fish dish requires you to remove the seafood’s odor, no matter what the fish is so pricey that the customers sometimes even don’t wanna loose the fresh smell of the fish. Well, don’t ever think that sushi is just fresh nice cuts of fishes. Sushi makers have to use their secret method to cut off the odor of that chosen fish sushi, ironically, the chefs never share their mystery. I use dried galangal and green tea to get rid of all the smell of the fish.
Fish braised with some fatty is a good choice. The fish itself has high protein so that it would be dry when braised. Believe me, the skin on the pork belly would be soft and tangy after the cooking time. And believe me again, you would like to eat the pork belly even more than the braised fish.
– 1 pound dried galangal (riềng khô)
– 1 tsp turmeric powder (bột nghệ)
– 4 tsp salt
– 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
– 1/4 cup light soy sauce
– 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
– 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
– 2 tbsp green tea powder
– 2 tbsp sugar
Fish and meat
– 1 8 pound carp ( about 3.5 kg)
– 4 pounds pork belly
– Marinade fish and pork belly with the seasoning mix, except the galangal, green tea powder and sugar, for at least 2 hours. Note: use sugar when the cooking is finally done, otherwise sugar makes the meat tough during the cooking process.
– Place the dried galangal onto the bottom of a large stock pot. If you have a clay pot, it works best but if you don’t, use any stainless steel stock pot that can fit both the fish and pork belly. Arrange the carp with the pork belly somehow that all the fish and meat are in one layer.
– Pour in enough water that the carp and meat all are submerged. Add green tea powder.
– Bring the fish mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low-medium heat so as to the heat just keep the water boil all the cooking time.
– Cook for 2 hours or until you skew the pork belly easily. That is done for the braising process.
– Cool the fish completely in order not to break the fish when you take it out.
– Serve: Use a big flat spoon to take out the fish, pork belly and enough sauce as you like. Microwave 1 minute covered for warming the fish and meat and serve with cooked rice.
Note: The braised fish can be refrigerated for 1 month without losing its flavor. Just reheat each time you crave for the braised fish.