Pickle & Preserve

Vietnamese-Inspired Sweet & Spicy Catfish with Pickled Vegetables

October 19, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This recipe was adapted from a recipe published in Food & Wine for catfish sandwiches. It is a real crowd pleaser - even those who claim they hate catfish end up getting up for seconds. It is also great for a dinner party - it looks like the dish takes more effort than it actually does and catfish is quite economical compared to other fish. - melissav —melissav

Test Kitchen Notes

Rare is the dish that manages to be healthy and pure without throwing it in your face. This one succeeds. Melissav's flavors are clean and bright, but there's richness from the glazed fish and yogurt sauce to keep the dish from being spare -- and the textures run the gamut from tender to crisp. We love the addition of toasted sesame seeds (it was the first time we'd toasted black sesame, and we were delighted by the results), and the technique of tossing the edamame in with the rice noodles to cook. Use any leftover pickled veggies in banh mi, or as an accompaniment for cured meats. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Fish Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 2 Scallions, minced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Ginger, minced or grated on microplane
  • 1 tablespoon Black Sesame Seeds, toasted
  • 1 pinch each of Salt and Pepper
  • 1.5 pounds Catfish
  • Remaining Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons Cider Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Carrots, cut into 4 pieces lengthwise, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 4-5 Radishes, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1/4 teaspoon Honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 14 oz. Box of Rice Noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups Edamame
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
  1. Marinate the Fish - Put the fish in a ziplock bag. Mix all of the remaining ingredients under Fish Ingredients together and pour in the ziplock bag. Put in the fridge while you prepare the remaining components or up to 2 hours.
  2. Pickle the Vegetables - Mix together the two vinegars, the 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, 1 teaspoon salt. Add the carrots, onions, radishes, and cucumber and mix together. Set aside for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Note - you can really use any combo of these veggies you wish.
  3. Make the yogurt sauce - Mix together the yogurt, 1 tablespoon Sriracha, 1/4 teaspoon honey, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  4. Make the noodles and edamame - Boil water and add the rice noodles. About 2 minutes before the noodles are done, add the edamame. Cook until al dente. Drain and Rinse with cold water. Return to the pot and just before serving, add the sesame seeds, 4-6 TB (to taste) of the vegetable pickling liquid, and salt to taste.
  5. Cook the fish: Broil for about 6-10 minutes until browned and cooked through. The cooking time really depends on the thickness of your fish.
  6. Assemble the Dish: In a shallow bowl or plate, place a mound of noodles and edamame, top with a piece of fish, drizzle the yogurt sauce over the fish, top with a scoop of the picked vegetables (drained of the pickling juice), and sprinkle with cilantro.
  7. Enjoy!
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42 Reviews

Steve February 14, 2022
This was fantastic! Really great dish and if you wanted to make it over rice, pho or whatever, why wouldn't you just do that?

Surin February 3, 2020
This isn't anything at all like Vietnamese catfish. No caramel sauce? No *FISH SAUCE*?! Serving it on pho noodles? Save yourself the trouble and look up recipes for ca kho to and any sort of bun (cold rice vermicelli salad) and have those instead.
gingerroot June 24, 2015
Finally made this with local Swai (almost a misnomer, right?) from a sustainable and organic aquaponic farm on Oahu. So delicious!!! I got the fish through my local CSF and look forward to more Swai in the future to make this again.
jlriddell August 23, 2014
Wow! This is one of the best recipes I have made from F52...it's got it all: tangy, sweet, spicy, rich. I will be using the leftover fish, pickled veg, yogurt sauce and cilantro in a fish taco tomorrow.... just great. And you can prep over the course of the day, put up the fish to marinate, come home later and make the pickled veg and then just boil the noodles and you're there.
carswell May 4, 2013
I bookmarked this one a couple of weeks ago and just got around to making it today as a girlfriend was coming over for dinner.

The overwhelming opinion was fantastic. I'll be doing this one again. I didn't use catfish as my local grocer didn't have any today - I used halibut.
carswell May 4, 2013
Oh, and I did rice and edamame instead of rice noodles.
dianajburgess May 4, 2013
one of the most amazing recipes out there. my kids were ready to fight for the last piece of catfish
carswell April 17, 2013
Oh. Em. Gee. That looks good.
lupine June 5, 2012
That was really good! Totally worth the hour it took for prep.
deanna1001 July 17, 2011
Just made this and loved it! Used hake instead of catfish. It was so light but with bright clean flavors. And it looks stunning. I'm looking forward to using the rest of the pickled beg on sandwiches tomorrow. If this had been submitted for a summer contest, it would have won hands down! Thanks.
deanna1001 July 17, 2011
Just caught that I typed beg instead of veg...
Summer O. July 8, 2011
I made this the other night with salmon and it was lovely. A perfect sweet / salty combo. Tonight I am just doing the pickles and adding them to our salads. They are totally addictive, thanks!
jenniferrpcv February 13, 2011
was so excited to try this b/c it looked gorgeous but sadly it did not fulfill my expectations. flavor was virtually nonexistent on rice noodles and veggies did not get pickled enough. catfish was decent.
melissav February 23, 2011
I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it. I just noticed that I forget to note in step 4 to drizzle with sesame oil. It is in the ingredient list but I forgot to include it in the step. You also need to salt to taste. But we all have different tastes . . .that's what makes the food world so great!
drbabs February 13, 2011
Hi melissav! I made this tonight--we really enjoyed it. I added a squirt of lime because I thought it needed a little more acid. (But that's just me.) Great recipe--thanks!
monkeymom February 8, 2011
Just made this and really loved it! I hadn't made this type of rice noodle before...mine had instructions to soak in warm water for an hour, then cook for only 50 seconds. It was so easy! Also added some fresh red leaf lettuce chopped up. We'll make this again and again. Thanks for the great recipe.
melissav February 9, 2011
Thanks for the comment monkeymom. So glad you liked it. I like the addition of lettuce.
allie February 3, 2011
thoughts on whether this could be prepared ahead of time and served at room temp?
melissav February 4, 2011
I think it would work. I do wonder, however, if the noodles might get gummy or clump together. I would add an extra drizzle of sesame oil to the noodles to help with that. Let us know how it turns out.
mrslarkin February 3, 2011
Just want to tell you that I made the pickled veggie part of your recipe to put on my pork belly buns tonight. The pickles were delicious! Can't wait to make the full recipe!
ellyn L. February 3, 2011
So glad to hear that. Your pork belly buns sound good. I just got hungry thinking about them!
melissav February 3, 2011
Sorry - that comment above was from me. A friend was logged in on my computer and I didn't realize.
Sagegreen February 3, 2011
Congrats, melissav! What a bright set of flavors.
monkeymom February 3, 2011
Congrats melissav! It's beautiful and creative...and healthy? Wow, great job!
melissav February 3, 2011
Thanks everyone for your comments. I went to check the site today during lunch, completely forgetting that I had submitted a recipe to this contest. It was such a pleasant surprise to see my recipe staring me in the face!
drbabs February 3, 2011
so happy for you--congrats!
wanderash February 3, 2011
I will be making this for sure! Looks great! Good luck.
TasteFood February 3, 2011
Congratulations - I love the Asian flavors!