Turmeric And Dill Fish (Chả cá thăng long/Chả cá Hà Nội)
This dish is a specialty of Hanoi. Dill is not used in most of Vietnam and I actually am drawing blank for any other dishes that use it. I had only eaten this dish once when my grandaunt made it for me quite a number of years ago but I think about it from time to time and about how wonderful it was so I decided to make it this weekend.
- 1 tsp fish sauce or shrimp paste
- 2 Tb yogurt (my mom told me that some sort of fermented rice porridge is what is supposed to be used but it often can't be found here so yogurt is used)
- 4 Tb oil
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 Tb kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 3 Tb minced galangal or ginger
- 2 lb white fish fillets
- 2-4 cups of sliced onion (depending how much onion you like): can use mixture of what you like/what you have, e.g. white onion, red onion, green onion (if green onion, cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces)
- 2-3 cups fresh dill, large stems removed, coarsley chopped
- 6 Tb - 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed
- rice noodles (vermicelli)
- black sesame rice cracker (it looks like rice paper with sesame seeds embedded and is sold in the same aisle of your Asian market)
- Fresh veg platter: lettuce, basil, Vietnamese balm, perilla
- 2 Tb shrimp paste (Mắm tôm/Mắm ruóc)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- fresh chiles, crushed
- Shrimp paste is rather pungent and it is pretty strong in this sauce. Some people may mix it with less shrimp paste but I love the flavor. You can serve prepared fish sauce with this dish if you don't care for the shrimp sauce.
1. Marinate fish for 15-30 minutes. 2. Boil noodles, drain, and cool to room temperature. 3. Toast rice crackers at 400 F until it puffs up and blisters, about 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to burn, do not let it get any more than pale golden in color! 4. Wash and dry the veg platter. 5. Mix together all the ingredients of the shrimp sauce. 6. In a little bit of oil over medium heat, saute the onion until softened but still retaining some crunch. Do not saute the green onion at this point. 7. Meanwhile, grill the fish until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. If you just want to use one pan, set aside the onion, add more oil and pan fry the fish. 8. Place fish on serving platter, turn the heat to medium high, and add back in the onion and the green onion if using. Add the dill and peanuts, and stir-fry for just 30 seconds or so. Top the fish with the onion/dill mixture. 9. Serve with rice noodles, vegetables and herbs, and sauce. The crackers are eaten alongside for a crunchy element. The dish is typically served family style with everyone taking what fish and accompaniments they want. Cooking just for two, I just put everything in a bowl, rice noodle bowl style.
Variations: Dusting the fish in rice flour or regular flour before frying.. use more oil for frying.