Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lightly Fried Rainbow Trout and Tomato Sauce (3-4 servings as part of a shared meal)

Fried fish and tomato sauce is a classic Vietnamese dish that my family loves to eat. Over the years I have made it using different types of fish and adding different ingredients to the tomato sauce. You can make with as little or as much sauce as you like. This particular dish has a lot of sauce. The tomatoes were large (total over a pound for 2 of them). I prefer to cook whole fish for this particular dish since the bones add extra flavor and the fish turns out more moist. Recently I noticed that my favorite local grocery finally put in a fish counter. There were fresh looking whole trout so I bought a couple that came to about a pound. Choose fish that have clear eyes and red gills--this indicate freshness. If they smell fishy or there is hint of ammonia--it is a sign that they may be going bad. I joked with the guy behind the counter that I have been fishing but I think I will go to his counter to fish more regularly in the future! 

Be sure to scale and clean the fish thoroughly when you bring them home. Trout have tiny scales but it's better if they are removed. I rub salt and/or vinegar on the fish to give it a deep cleaning before cooking.

cleaned fish
Check out a similar dish that I made but with red snapper: Red Snapper with Tomato and Shiitake.

Lightly Fried Rainbow Trout and Tomato Sauce (3-4 servings as part of a shared meal)


2 trouts (about 1/2 pound each), scaled, gutted, and fins and tails trimmed
A large pinch of salt and ground pepper
All-purpose flour, optional
Oil for cooking (about 2 Tbsp)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, de-seeded, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp chicken stock powder
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch mix with enough water to dissolve the flour (optional)--to thicken the sauce slightly
1 bunch of scallions, green parts only, chopped
Chopped cilantro leaves, optional (for garnish)


1) Clean and dry the fish. Score each side of the fish (if interested), rub the sides and inside of the belly with a little salt and pepper. Dust the whole fish with all-purpose flour if you like.
2) Heat a large pan with about a tablespoon of oil over high heat. Once the pan is hot place the fish in the pan, turn down the heat to medium high and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the fish is golden brown. May cover the fish with a splatter guard if needed. Depending on the type of fish and your stove top, some will cook faster than others. Trout will cook quickly.
3) Remove the fish after cooking and place it on a large plate or platter. Wipe the pan with a clean paper towel and add about a tablespoon of oil to the cleaned pan.
4) Add garlic and onion. Cook for about a minute until the onion is somewhat translucent.
5) Add tomato and water. Saute about 5 minutes or until the tomato is soft.
6) Season with chicken stock powder, oyster sauce, and sugar. Stir. Add thickener. Cook about 1-2 minutes.
7) Add scallions, stir and turn off heat. Pour the contents over the fish.
8) Garnish with cilantro if interested

*My family and I love to eat cilantro and usually I add some on top to garnish if I have any in the kitchen. However, I did not add any to this since my friend does not like to eat it. The dish below was made by adding periwinkles (ocean snails)--that was delicious!

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