Vietnamese Fried Fish with Tomato Sauce on a gray plate with salad greens

Vietnamese "Fried" Fish with Tomato Sauce (Cá Chiên Sðt Cà)

Tomatoes never had it so good.  Coupled with fish sauce in this lightning fast sauce, your pan-fried cod will never be the same.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword cod with tomatoes, pan fried cod, seared fish recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 321.36kcal
Author Asian Test Kitchen


  • 1 lb skinless cod fillets or other firm, thick fish, such as seabass, catfish, salmon, etc.
  • 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ea tomato, large about 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 2 ea green onion sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1 ea garlic clove minced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • salt for seasoning fish


  • Sprinkle both sides of the fillet with salt. Heat a pan to medium high heat. Add 1 Tb of extra virgin olive oil. Place fish presentation side down in the hot pan. It will take 3-5 minutes to develop a crust and release from the pan. Remove and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the remaining 1 Tb of extra virgin olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, white part of the green onion, and shallot. Stir fry 1-2 minutes until translucent.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper to the pan. Continue stirring and cook until the tomatoes begin to melt after a few minutes.
  • Nestle the fish fillets, seared side up, to the pan. Cover and cook for 2-5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. This will vary depending on the thickness of the fishl.
  • Garnish with the green part of the green onion, and serve hot with your choice of side dish.


  1. If defrosting frozen fish, make sure the fish fillets are thoroughly dry to obtain the best crust.  Dab with paper towels.
  2. If you prefer to use a thermometer, the fish should reach an internal temp of 145 degrees F.
  3. Vine ripe fresh tomatoes make a big difference in this recipe, though canned tomatoes will work too.  
  4. The tomato sauce is your friend. If your seared fish is not pretty, just cover with tomato sauce wherever needed.
  5. This tastes really lovely on top of rice, but a fresh green salad or stir fried greens work too.  
  6. Try with Chianti wine.


Calories: 321.36kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.64g | Protein: 40.78g | Fat: 15.54g | Saturated Fat: 2.23g | Cholesterol: 97.52mg | Sodium: 594.15mg | Potassium: 936.67mg | Sugar: 2.26g | Vitamin A: 90.72IU | Vitamin C: 2.27mg | Calcium: 36.28mg | Iron: 0.86mg