Sweet & Sour Fish Filets (Ca Lan Bot Chien Sot Chua Ngot)

Like many fish dishes throughout Asia, this fresh fish dish is traditionally served whole with head and tail still attached. Even though it removes the drama and delight of displaying the whole fish in tact, filets seem to be more palatable for western diner’s sensibilities. All of the magnificent flavors of this dish still remain.

vietnamese sweet and sour fish

Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Fish Filets- Ca Lan Bot Chien Sot Chua Ngot

This recipe modifies this classic dish by removing the whole fish from the equation and using boneless fish fillets instead. What the recipe doesn't do, however, is minimize the incredible flavor profile that this dish is famous for.
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Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Southeast Asian, Vietnam
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Small bowl
  • Medium skillet (10-inch)
  • Spatula
  • Vegetable peeler


  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp White vinegar
  • tsp Black pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk Scallion, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 medium Carrot, peeled and sliced lengthwise into thin strips with a vegetable peeler.
  • ½ medium Onion, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
  • cup White radish sliced lengthwise into small stips with a vegetable peeler.
  • 1 medium Tomato, cut into 8 wedges
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch + 1 tbsp for sauce
  • ¾ cup Water
  • ¾ cup Vegetable oil
  • 16 oz White fish filets (catfish, sole, other), cut filets crosswise into 2-inch slices.


  • Prep – Make 3 piles on a platter: chopped garlic, sliced onion, and remaining vegetables. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, sugar, vinegar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, black pepper, and water. Mix well and set aside. Fill plate with cornstarch.
  • Cook Fish – Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Coat fish filets completely with cornstarch. Place fillets into hot oil and fry until brown on both sides, about 5-8 minutes in total. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Finish Dish – Remove all but 2 tsp oil from the pan. Turn heat to high and stir in garlic for a few seconds, add onion slivers and stir fry briefly. Add remaining vegetables and stir another minute. Stir sauce mixture and add to pan. Stir fry for 3 more minutes. Place fish filets on a serving platter or in a bowl. Pour cooked sauce over the fish and serve hot with white rice.


Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 23g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 913mg | Potassium: 196mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2835IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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