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catfish ideas -- please, no deep-frying!

  • b

I picked up a bunch of catfish nuggets which were dirt-cheap, and I'm looking for something to do with them other than bread & deep fry. I was thinking about making a fish stew or gumbo/jambalaya, but I've done that too many times before and would like to try something new. I searched Epicurious, and most of the recipes were whole fish ideas, cajun/creole, or some other variation that involved deep-frying.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Yum! I love Catfish...

    My ideas are Mexican... you can steam it and make Fish Tacos, or for something really unique, Catfish Enchiladas! Just make a green salsa with Tomatillo (I boil quite a few garlic cloves and chiles, then puree it all with raw onion and cilantro). Lightly fry some Tortillas, dip them in the salsa and roll in cooked catfish!


    1. I've used those catfish nuggets, and while they're just delicious, they have a TON of fat, from under the skin, on them.

      They don't work very well for anything stewed, it gets very oily...Like you, I hate deep frying. But I found they were very good, coated with blackening spices, and pan-fried with a little oil in a non-stick pan...made a great blackened catfish Caesar salad...

      2 Replies
      1. re: galleygirl

        a TON of fat? hmmm, mine don't look too fatty, i certainly hope they're not loaded with fat.

        i'm hoping to find a bunch of ideas for these guys since they range from $1.99-2.99/lb. i love catfish blackened too, but am looking to expand my cooking horizons a little bit. actually, maybe i should've asked for asian recipes, as i would really like to explore this area of cooking. you have some experience here, no?

        1. re: banshee

          I do, and I used the catfish tenders the first time to make Vietnamese Catfish in Claypot, Ca Kho To...I gottah say, they looked fine, but I ended up with way too much fish oil in the dish, it kept it from getting crispey and salty and caramelized....And I LIKE fatty fish.You have to realize, this is the skin and fat-intensive portion they trim off when they're cutting fillets, along with a nice juicey bit of flesh..Broiling would probably work, and any kind of dish that included panfrying, or searing before adding spices or sauce....But braised or slow-cooked didn't work for me...It interfered too much with the other flavors.

      2. Make canh chua -- but if there's a ton of fat on them you may need to cook the fish separately and then drain and add, so you don't end up with an oil slick on your broth.

        1. Have you ever had the North Viet dish called "cha ca"? It's turmeric-coated whitefish (catfish is popular) that is seared and finished by sauteing w/ dill and scallions. It's then eaten w/ herbs, bun (vermicelli noodles), and nuoc cham (dipping sauce). It's a very refreshing summer dish if you like those sorts of flavors.

          There's a recipe linked below that looks exactly like the one in Corinne Trang's "Authentic Vietnamese Cooking." It calls for the fish to be deep-fried, but you can just pan fry or broil instead.

          Another hound, Alice Patis, recently paraphrased her mom's recipe that gives some tips and offers guidelines for a simple nuoc cham. http://www.chowhound.com/boards/cooki...

          The picture below is from Noodle Pie's blog here: http://noodlepie.typepad.com/blog/fis...
          Scroll down to "frying tonight" for his coverage of cha ca in Vietnam.

          Link: http://www.recipehound.com/Recipes/22...

          Image: http://noodlepie.typepad.com/blog/ima...

          1. You can do a stir fry with the nuggets. Just frist pour hot water over the fish and quickly wash off the nuggets. This will remove most of the grass/muddy taste.

            Blanch some vegtables and stir fry together. Since I do not know where you are and what Aisan vegetables you have. If repost on what you have I will try to give you a more complete recipe.

            1. Something I do often when I need to cook something quick-and-dirty but don't want to settle for a bologna sandwich is to make Thai-style hot-and-sour (tom yum) soup. If I have time I'll make my own broth with fresh lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and chiles, but if in a big hurry I'll use tom yum paste out of a jar. Works great with chicken, shrimp, fish. Catfish nugs are excellent. Use any recipe you like for tom yum goong, substituting the catfish for shrimp.


              1. You can dunk them in buttermilk with a splash of hot sauce, dredge in seasoned buckwheat flour, then pan fry. It's easy and delicious. I do it with fillets all the time.

                1. I don't know how this would work with nuggets but it's wonderful for catfish filet if you want to avoid frying. Smear the filets with a teensy bit of nonfat cooking spray and roll them in commercial bread crumbs (which you can spice to taste). Lay them on a foil-covered pan. Get the oven really hot, 425*, and bake them until the outside is crunchy around the edges (20-25 minutes depending on size). Because catfish is so sweet it goes well with either a) a sweet & sour pineapple sauce or b) homemade salsa, picante version. No bones, no scales, no fishy taste---this is the fish for fish-haters.

                  1. I have made a pasta with these -- Near as I can recall, I sauteed a little chopped onion and garlic, some sliced mushrooms, the catfish, and tossed in some strips of roasted and peeled red pepper and finished it off with finely diced fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice, and fresh ground pepper. Then I tossed all that together with the cooked pasta.

                    1. you can also make Vietnamese Caramel fish as well. Simply marinate the nuggets in some nuoc mam, a little sugar and pepper for about an hour. In the meantime, saute an onion, sliced garlic and sliced ginger in cooking oil. When the onion mixture is translucent add the fish and a little hot chili sauce and three or four tablespoons more of the nuoc mam. Reduce to a simmer. In a nonstick pan, melt 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water until the sugar becomes a golden brown. Pour the caramel into the fish mixture. Stir and then simmer for another ten minutes. You may want to add a shot of lime or a bit more sugar depending on the taste. With all the nuoc mam, you do NOT need to add any salt.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: verucaamish

                        Wow, I think this is the one! What would you serve this with?

                        1. re: banshee

                          Viet caramelized fish is called "ca kho" and is one of my favorites that my mom makes. You can use nuggets, although my mom usually uses fish steaks since I think she braises them longer. I don't know her recipe, but verucaamish's looks like a good quick-cooking one.

                          Serve w/ lots of jasmine rice, as it needs a foil for the sweetness and saltiness. Wilted greens (spinach, mustard) w/ garlic and a little fish sauce is great too. Here's a recipe for stir-fried water spinach (rau muong xao) which is commonly eaten in Vietnam.

                          Link: http://www.recipehound.com/Recipes/12...