Sweet and Spicy Fried Catfish

I’m going to be honest here: this dish isn’t healthy. Sorry, y’all. This is a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth fish that’s shallow fried and drizzled with a spicy sauce that has, you know, sugar.

But it’s delicious. And while it’s important to eat healthily, what is life if not occasionally indulgent? So in the wise words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, go ahead and treat yo’self. Serve it with rice and vinegared vegetables to tone down the guilt factor.

Sweet and spicy fried catfish


1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger plus 4 quarter-sized slices peeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets
1 egg
1 cup cornstarch, dry, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspons water
vegetable oil for shallow frying
1 green onion, thinly sliced

1. Prepare the sauce: mix the chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, chili garlic sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, minced ginger, salt, and pepper together in a bowl and set aside.

2. Remove bones and skin from the catfish and cut into 4 pieces. Pat dry.

3. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Spread the cup of cornstarch in another shallow bowl. Dust each piece of the fish with the cornstarch and then dip in the beaten egg to coat the fish. Return the fish to the cornstarch and coat evenly. Set on a separate plate or rack.

4. Place a wide deep pan over medium heat and pour in oil to a depth of 1/4 inch. When the oil shimmers, add the ginger slices and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Slide the fish into the oil and fry, turning once, until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

5. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, pour in the sauce and bring to a boil. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, about 30 seconds.

6. Spoon the sauce over the fish, scatter with the green onion, and serve.

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