Vietnamese Caramelized Salmon – Ca Hoi Kho


Ca hoi kho is Vietnamese caramelized fish using salmon.   This pictorial recipe was possible thanks to Mama Mai Dinh from Texas on Facebook for providing the cooking direction and main ingredients. This was my first attempt cooking it with a lucky guess for the amount of ingredients used. I am very excited because it turned out to be a “toddler-approved” recipe!  This is the very first fish dish that my picky little 27-months-old chef would eat and she actually likes it! 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes
I used an 11-inch nonstick pan. 

Ingredients (measurements edited 3/2/2017)

  • 2 salmon filets about 1.2-inch thick
  • 1.5 Tbsp oil (canola/vegetable)
  • 3 Tbsp Viet Huong fish sauce
  • 4 Tbsp ABC sweet soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 bunch scallion
  • 1/4 cup water




1.  Rub the salmon filet with 1 Tablespoon of sweet soy sauce.

2.  Chop the green scallions into short pieces.
     My little chef is in charge of mixing the ca kho sauce.  
     In a little bowl, mix the following together:
                        3 Tbsp ABC sweet soy sauce
                        3 Tbsp Viet Huong fish sauce
                        1 tsp minced garlic
                        1/8 tsp black pepper
                        1 Tbsp light brown sugar
                        1/4 cup water


3.  Heat up oil in an 11-inch hard anodized non-sticking pan. 

4.  Once the oil is hot, immediately pour in the sauce mixture and turn the heat down from high to medium.  (#7 on my stove)

5.  Cook the sauce on medium until it thickens up.  Be careful to not burn the sauce since the level of sugar is high.  You may need to adjust the heat depending on your type of stove you have. I cook and stir this sauce continuously for about five minutes on my GE Spectra stove with heat setting at #7. 

6.  Once the sauce seemed to caramelized to your preference, add the salmon filet into the pan.  Turn heat to medium low setting which is number 4 on my GE Spectra stove.   Simmer for 6 minutes on one side.  (I added half the amount of scallion after six minutes.  Which I think I’ll add the scallions toward the end next time I make this.) 

7.  Then carefully flip the filet over and cook the other side for another 6 minutes if you want to achieve a medium rare texture. 

8.  Transfer onto a deep plate.  This is how the inside looks when I cook this for six minutes on medium low heat on each side (12 minutes total): 

It was still way too pink for me but perfect for my husband, so I microwaved one of the two filet that I cooked for one minute. And this was how it looked like after.  Now it is kinda overcooked in the microwave. Oopsie.  So next time, I’ll make sure to cook the salmon filet in the pan for about 13 or 14 minutes instead of 12 minutes total. 

Serve with steamed jasmine rice and steamed veggies.


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