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 flaky white fish will do, such as cod, halibut, basa fish or tilapia. The thickness of the fish flesh of the is best for the dish.)
Fish Marinade • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder • 1/4 teaspoon galangal powder (if not available at your Asian market, substitute ginger powder) • 1 tbs minced garlic • 1 tbs minced shallots • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1/2 teaspoon sugar • 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce • 1 tbs of olive oil
Combine olive oil, turmeric, galangal, garlic, shallots, salt, sugar, and fish sauce in large bowl and mix well. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Marinate the fish for no more than 30 minutes. Transfer a few fish sticks at a time onto a plate. Using a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle some flour (if used) over the fish sticks and shake off the excess flour.
Accompaniments • 1 large red 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 minced garlic • 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 (read stinky) 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. Putting it all together...
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. Cook the fish fillets about 3 minutes on each side until you get a nice golden opaque color and slight brown crust. A minute or so before the fish is done, sauteed the onions and scallions. Remove from heat.
Assembly time: In a bowl, combine the lettuce, Vietnamese herbs and cucumber. Toss well. When you're ready to serve, place the greens in each individual bowl. Add the vermicelli noodles and top with the dill fish and a few slices of chile pepper (if used). Sprinkle roasted peanuts on top. Serve warm with lime wedges, sliced green chiles and traditional Hanoi shrimp paste dipping sauce (mắm ruốc) or nước mắm on the side. Traditionally, this dish is also served with black sesame dotted rice crackers.