Cha Ca Thang Long Recipe Vietnamese Grilled Fish Turmeric
About 4 Servings
•1 lb of white fish fillets (traditionally catfish is used, but any meaty and white fish will do, such as cod, halibut, basa, swai, or tilapia. The thickness of the fish flesh is best for the dish.)
• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1/4 teaspoon galangal / or powder (if not available at your Asian market, substitute ginger powder) • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1 tbs of olive oil
• 2 teaspoons of rice flour
• 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste
Combine the filet fish cut into 1 inch chunks, olive oil, turmeric, galangal, garlic, salt, rice flour, shrimp paste, and sugar in large bowl and mix well. Marinate the fish for 2 hours or overnight. After marinating, take the chunks of fish out and place on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil, and bake for 5- 7 minutes at 350 degrees.
Accompaniments • 1 large onion, sliced • 1 cup of green onion cut about 1.5 inch segments • 1 bunch of fresh dill coarsely chopped (thick stems removed) • 1/4 cup of dry roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed • Pickled Carrots and Daikon, sliced • 12 oz. bag of vermicelli noodles (boiled and drained) • Fresh mints (rau thom), perilla (tia to), lettuce, Vietnamese balm (kinh gioi) • Black sesame rice cracker (banh da)
Fermented Anchovy Sauce
• juice from 3 limes
• 2 tablespoon of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of water
• 1 teaspoon of mam ruoc (fine shrimp paste)
• 1 teaspoon of chopped red chili or chili garlic paste
Traditionally this dish is dressed with a fermented shrimp paste sauce. The sauce is more pungent (strong smell) than fish sauce, but is prepared similar to nuoc mam dipping sauce. First start with the lime, sugar, and water making a bland lime-ade, then slowly add the shrimp paste, mix well and taste and adjust according to taste. The shrimp paste is much stronger then fish sauce so start small and slow. If you don't care for this sauce and prefer nuoc mam dipping sauce, that's not a problem at all.
Salad for Wrapping
Most people eat the fish wrap in rice paper. Our family likes a reason to wrap anything, and everything. So to eat this dish the way we like, we have to prepare the salad to wrap the fish in.
1) red or green leaf lettuce wash and cut in half to manageable size.
2) perilla mint
5) crushed, roasted and lightly salted peanuts
Some folks can't handle the shrimp paste because it is so strong. To eat with fish sauce here is my formula:
4 tablespoons of organic fish sauce
2 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 teaspoons of sugar
Mix well. Add chili paste to your taste
Prepping the fish: Wash the fish and pat dry using paper towels. Cut the fillets into 1-½ inch thick rectangular sticks. Marinate - see above for ingredients.
Assembly time: In a pan, combine the yellow onions, dill and green chopped onions to be used with frying the fish and a teaspoon of vegetable oil placed in the grill pan then layer the fish chunks on top, cook until fish looks grilled.
For salad and herb, shred the lettuce, cut the cucumbers into three-inch slices, perilla mint, peppermint, assemble into a large dish. Boil the noodles according to directions on the package and rinse well.
Remove from the pan and add the vermicelli noodles to a bowl and top with herbs from the salad bowl and sprinkle roasted peanuts on top. Serve warm with shrimp paste dipping sauce (mắm ruốc) or nước mắm on the side. Traditionally, this dish is also served with black sesame dotted rice crackers.