Asian food continues to be a major player throughout the country. In honor of National Catfish Day on Wednesday, June 25, we want to share a Thai twist on catfish that was created by Executive Chef/ Partner Jet Tila at Pakpao in Dallas.

Pakpao is located in the Dallas Design District and features unique Thai dishes, along with classic favorites from all across Thailand’s diverse cultural and gastronomic regions. Pakpao recently announced its partnership with Celebrity Chef Jet Tila, son of America’s first Thai family, best known for his appearances on Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America, and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. 

Cat Fish Red Curry
Pla Dook Pad Phet
By Executive Chef/Partner Jet Tila, Pakpao

3-4 T. oil
1-2 oz. of canned red curry paste (Maesri brand)
2 T. gingerroot (young ginger), finely chopped
1 strand of pickled green peppercorns, picked and finely chopped
1 T. fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
1 T. galangal, peeled and finely chopped
2 T. kaffir lime leaves, thin chiffonade
2 T. white sugar
2 T. fish sauce
2 T. water plus more if needed
1 catfish fillet cut into 1/2 in cubes lightly dusted in rice flour
2 Thai eggplant, cut into quarters
1/2 yellow squash, bias sliced
1 Anaheim pepper, ¼” sliced on a bias
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
½ cup canned bamboo sliced shoot
1 oz. white wine
½ Cup loosely packed thai sweet basil


For Curry:

1.       In a large pot add oil and heat on med high, add curry paste and fry for 1-2 min.  Stir well as the curry fries in oil and becomes very fragrant. 

2.       Add remaining ingredients except sugar, fish sauce and water. Stir and allow the sauce to reduce so it coats the back of a spoon. Turn down heat and add sugar and fish. Add water if the sauce is too thick. Taste for seasoning reserve and allow to cool. 


To Assemble:

1.       In a cast iron skillet, or heavy bottomed pot fry catfish in 1 in enough oil to cover, at 370 degrees for about 5 minutes or until fish is crispy.

2.       Remove from oil and reserve with vegetable prep for dish. In a flat bottomed wok or large sauté pan add 2 Tbsp. of oil and heat until lightly smoking. Add vegetables and sauté for 2-3 minutes continuously moving vegetables.

3.       Deglaze pan with 1 oz. of white wine and add 1/4 c of water to steam and further cook vegetables. 

4.       Next, stir in enough pad phet curry to make a smooth sauce with water (approximately 3 oz).

5.       Pour the stirfry curry sauce and vegetables over reserved catfish and garnish with thai basil.