My sister Angela lives in San Diego. Angela and her husband Peter, and his twin John, have a sandwich shop called Sandwich Emporium .
Angela and Peter. John is identical so he looks like Peter!
They are living the American dream of starting and running their own business. Their San Diego meets East Coast sandwiches are hearty, delectable and craveable.
Peter’s Mom spurred “the dream” decades earlier when she escaped Vietnam in the 1970s with her 10 children and her husband. They left their material belongings and extended family because they had the faith and bravery to start a new life in a new land. The willingness to start a new path was impressed into Peter and John.
The last time I was in San Diego Mrs. Le made the most succulent and delicious catfish dish. When I asked Angela for the recipe she said that it is a family secret that she has not been included in yet! I asked Peter for the recipe and he laughed and said only his Mom knows it!
Below I have included a recipe that I created that is inspired by Ms. Le’s Vietnamese catfish recipe.
Like all Asian dishes, keep in mind that the amount of ingredients you put is all dependent on your taste level. If you like things on the sweeter side add more sugar. If you like spicier dishes add more siracha.
This dish is great with rice or noodles! Enjoy! Buon Appetito! Sarap ng buhay!
8 Tablespoons of sugar
1.5 Teaspoons Tumeric
1 tablespoon of Siracha hot sauce
2 1/4 Tablespoons of fish sauce (Patis to Filipinos)
1 cup of scallions chopped up
1 whole onion chopped up
1 lime cut in wedges
1/2 cup of fresh dill (We had some in our garden. You can use powdered dill weed if you don’t have it fresh).
1.5-2 pounds of catfish (I use the frozen nuggest kind sold in most groceries.)
1 cup of water
1/2 a package of cubed firm tofu (This is optional. Mrs. Le did not have this in her dish. I love tofu so I added it)
What to do:
1. Make a marinate of 1/2 a lime with the peel, 1/2 cup of dill, 1.5 teaspoons of tumeric, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 2 1/4 Tablespoons of fish sauce , 1 tablespoon of Siracha hot sauce, 1/2 cup of scallions. Place the catfish into the mixture and leave for 4 hours to overnight.
2. Put the chop onions, 1 cup of water and 4 tablespoons of sugar into a pan and let it caramelized. Don’t worry if it gets dark as this adds to the flavor.
3. Remove the lime wedges. Add the marinated catfish with the marinate liquid into the caramelized onion mixture.
4. Cook until the fish caramelizes and the liquid reduces and thickens. The more caramelized the better!
5. Add the rest of the scallions (1/2 cup left) and tofu (if you like tofu). Mix and let it caramelize with the fish.
6. This dish will take about 25 minutes to cook. Again, cooking times can vary depending on the strength of your stove and the type of pan you use. You can garnish it with more dill and the rest of the lime. Eat it with plain rice or unsalted noodles.
Good luck! Enjoy! Buon Appetito! Sarap ng buhay!