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Vietnamese claypot catfish recipe in a bowl
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5 from 2 votes

Vietnamese Claypot Catfish

You'll need Asian fish sauce for this recipe, but it is easily available in large supermarkets, and, obviously, in Asian markets. In a pinch you can substitute Worcestershire, but it's really not the same. I also call for lard, which really makes a difference in flavor; you can use oil if you must. Serve this with plain white rice and a beer.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw


  • 2 pounds catfish steaks
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 3 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1-2 hot chiles, such as Thai or serrano


  • Mix the brown sugar, black pepper, molasses and fish sauce and coat the fish in it. Let this stand for 15-30 minutes.
  • In a pot just large enough to contain the fish, heat the lard over high heat and saute the garlic, chile and scallions for 1-2 minutes. Do not let them brown.
  • Add the catfish and all the marinade. Mix well, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Pour in enough water to almost cover the catfish, then turn the heat to medium-high. Cook this uncovered until the sauce reduces by half, about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to turn over the fish a couple times so both sides get coated by the sauce.
  • Turn out the fish into a bowl, and serve with white rice. Have a bowl on the table for everyone's fish bones.