Believe it or not a huge amount of the seafood we consume in the US comes in frozen from Asia---think maybe 75% of the shrimp sold in supermarkets. That includes places like Whole Foods. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the fisheries are safe. Recently I discovered farm raised swai being sold in a local big name chain. Swai is a Vietnamese catfish. You can easily buy it through one of the Safeway brand name markets. Nice texture and good value per fillet. So I went with a twist on the southern US down home fish fry. The dipping sauce begins with Nuoc Nam which at first smells like something you would use as plant fertilizer. But when it comes in contact with other ingredients and foods it is transformed into something spectacular.
Serve this with cups of steamed short grain rice.
fillets of swai (or catfish) equal to 1 pound
1 1/2 cups
toasted rice flour
ground Korean pepper or cayenne
Nuoc cham for dipping as follows,
Nuoc Nam fish sauce (we like 3 Crabs)
dried hot pepper seeded and chopped (bird chile would be good. Use too depending on your heat threshold)
garlic cloves, chopped
juice from one squeezed lime
sugar (coconut palm if available)
In This Recipe
In a food processor grind up the Krispies to the texture of bread crumbs
Set up your fry station by beginning with one pan with the rice flour and ground hot pepper and a second pan with the Rice Krispy crumbs
Meanwhile in a deep pan (preferably cast iron) or your fryolater heat 3â€ of peanut oil to a temperature of 375F
Cut the swai into large pieces and dredge each first in the rice flour and then in the Krispy mix. Fry until nice and golden and drain on paper towl. Season with sea salt.
Combine all of the nuoc cham ingredients and portion out into individual dipping bowls
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.