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Fajita-Spiced Catfish with Asian Fried Rice and Chili-Cilantro Sauce

Fajita-Spiced Catfish with Asian Fried Rice and Chili-Cilantro Sauce

YIELD: 24 servings

9 lbs. catfish (cut into 24 six-oz. fillets)
12 ozs. dry potato flakes 1 cup cornstarch 1 cup fajita seasoning mixture
1/2 cup flour 3 Tbsps. salt
2 cups vegetable oil as needed whole leaves of Asian basil, spearmint and cilantro, for garnish

FOR THE ASIAN FRIED RICE:
1 cup unsalted butter
21/2 cups sweet onion, chopped
1 cup ginger root, minced
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
3 Tbsps. cumin
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
3 gals. cooked and cold jasmine rice (use 61/2 lbs. raw rice to prepare)
3 cups scallions, thinly-sliced

FOR THE CHILI-CILANTRO SAUCE
11/2 cup sugar
1 cup ginger root, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves
3 Tbsps. garlic cloves
12 to 20 chilies (Thai bird or small, hot, red chili; seeded and chopped); quantity as desired
11/3 cups rice wine vinegar
2 cups fish sauce
11/2 cups water
11/2 cups lime juice
2/3 cup soy sauce

  1. Pat catfish fillets dry; reserve.
  2. Mix potato flakes, cornstarch, seasoning mixture, flour and salt to make breading mixture. Coat breading onto each fillet. Place on rack sitting in a sheetpan. Cover and refrigerate until ready to prepare.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet or tilting skillet; add breaded catfish, presentation-side down, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook other side of fillets. Remove from oil; drain and place on a sheetpan and continue baking in 350°F oven until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Keep warm until service.
  4. FOR THE ASIAN RICE: In large rondo or skillet, heat butter; add onion, ginger, garlic and cumin; sautÈ until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add ketchup, fish sauce, sugar and salt; simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add cooked rice and stir-fry until thoroughly mixed and hot. Stir in scallion and mix well. Transfer to steamtable pan; cover and keep warm until service.
  5. FOR CHILI-CILANTRO SAUCE: In container of food processor, pulse sugar, ginger root, cilantro, garlic and chilies until finely-chopped. Add vinegar and process until smooth. Remove mixture from processor and place in non-reactive, lidded container. Add fish sauce, water, lime juice and soy sauce and stir to blend. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Will keep up to 2 weeks tightly covered in refrigerator.)
  6. TO SERVE: Portion 2 cups of Asian Fried Rice in large, deep bowl. Place cooked catfish fillet over rice and ladle 1/3 cup Chili-Cilantro Sauce over top. Garnish with whole leaves of fresh herbs.

Recipe from Malley Sisson, R.D., L.D., Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS. Photo from Clear Springs Foods.

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