Adding this liquid will quickly tenderize the fish meat while avoiding any unpleasant fishy taste, resulting in firm and flavorful fish.

Braised fish in clay pot is a popular dish in many households, but cooking it until the bones are tender can be quite challenging. Learn the secret recipe now to master this skill.


Cá kho is a dish that many families enjoy nowadays. It is a popular dish in many households. Traditional braising involves the fish being firm, with the flesh being firm, not mushy, and the color of amber wings being fragrant. In the past, to braise the fish until firm, it was usually buried in husks and roasted for at least 12 hours. Nowadays, most families use electric pots or gas stoves, so braising the fish until firm is a challenge for many people.

But don’t worry, with the tips below, you can easily braise the fish until firm and not mushy, just like the traditional flavor.

Braised fish with bones is not only delicious but also helps to supplement calcium from bones. For those using gas stoves or electric pots to braise the fish, if you want the bones and the fish not to be mushy, follow these steps:

Prepare the fish

If you want the braised fish to be delicious, when buying, pay attention to choosing fresh fish: fresh fish, clear eyes, good elasticity when pressing the flesh, shiny scales, no peeling, fresh pink flesh, firm and not slimy fish.

When you bring the fish home, cut it into proper pieces, and remember to scrape the fish belly clean. Wash the fish with salt and ginger wine to remove any fishy smell.

Prepare the braising spices. Braised fish has many distinctive spice styles such as braised fish with green bananas, braised fish with fermented anchovy, braised fish with soybeans, braised fish with pickles, braised fish with eggplants, etc. Depending on the family’s taste, you can use different supplementary ingredients as desired. However, there are some essential ingredients that cannot be missed, including green tea leaves to prevent fishy smell and help firmness. Lemon juice or white vinegar, pork belly, and pig skin to add greasiness to the fish.

To quickly make the fish firm and tender: boil the fish with boiling water and vinegar

After cleaning the fish, pour boiling water over the fish to make it quickly firm, the flesh becomes firm, and it helps prevent the fish from releasing too much amino acid, so it won’t be fishy when braised.

Then, line the pork skin at the bottom of the pot, add tea leaves, then arrange the fish and other supplementary ingredients such as pickles, green bananas into the pot, add fish sauce, salt, and noodles according to taste.

After that, prepare boiling water, absolutely do not use cold water, only use boiling water to pour into the fish pot. Bring the fish pot to a boil or braise it in an electric rice cooker.

To quickly make the bones tender, add a little vinegar or lemon juice to make the fish flesh non-fishy and the bones tender. For half a kilogram of fish, add about 100ml of lemon juice.

If you want the braised fish to have a distinctive aroma and a spicy taste, use green chili instead of red chili.

Tea leaves lining at the bottom of the pot prevents the fish from becoming fishy and the flesh becomes very firm, creating a special flavor for the braised fish.

If you want to enjoy the fragrant and sweet fish, place some sliced sugarcane at the bottom of the pot, the aroma of the burnt sugarcane will create a fragrant flavor for the braised fish. Especially when braising with soybean or fermented anchovy, adding fresh sugarcane makes it very fragrant.

If you want the braised fish to have a rich and fatty taste, add pork skin at the bottom of the pot to prevent the pot from burning and to add a fragrant gelatinous substance to the fish pot.

Create a beautiful color for the braised fish

Use homemade sugar syrup instead of store-bought syrup: Add sugar to the pot, but be careful not to let the wings of the fish burn, or else it will turn black.

If you want a more beautiful color, you can add cashew oil or use Korean chili powder.

How to braise the fish until firm using an electric pot without having to watch the time

After putting the ingredients into the pot, turn on the electric rice cooker and then press the warm button. Boil the fish for about 5 minutes, then switch to warm mode. The purpose of doing this is to allow the fish to evenly absorb the spices deep inside. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then turn on the rice cooker again and set the timer on your phone for about 30 minutes until the water is almost gone, then switch the pot back to warm mode. You can occasionally turn on the pot to bring the heat back up to a simmer and then switch it back to warm mode. Let the fish braise for about 8 hours, then turn it back on and let the water evaporate. At that time, the fish will be firm, and the flesh will be delicious and fragrant. Braising the fish in an electric pot helps the fish cook slowly and the bones tenderize slowly, so you don’t have to watch it. While braising the fish, you can leave the house for 1-2 hours.

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