Using Herbs and Spices

Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Seafood)

Hanoi Fried Fish with Dill Recipe

(Cha Ca Hanoi)

The north of Vietnam is well known for its use of pungent herbs, so much so that a dish of the ever-popular noodles can be served plain, dressed only with coriander and basil. There are many herbs that are indigenous to this northern region and virtually impossible to find outside Vietnam, but one herb that is easily available and used in many northern-style fish dishes is dill. In this classic dish from Hanoi, cha ca Hanoi, the dill is just as important as the fish and they complement each other beautifully. A simple accompaniment of plain rice or noodles is all that is needed to make an impressive meal.

Cha Ca Street - There is a street in Hanoi called Cha Ca Street, where all the restaurants specialize in this dish. The most famous is Cha Ca La Vong, a tiny restaurant that has been owned by the same family for generations and which claims to have first popularized cha ca. This recipe usually uses the local Red River fish, carp and catfish, and is served with piquant dipping sauces such as mam tong tom made with pineapple and dried shrimp, or nuoc cham.

Ingredients : Serves 4

75 g

7.5 ml

500 g

3 tablespoons

1 large bunch

15 ml

30 ml

4

1 small bunch

1 small bunch

1

Rice flour

Ground turmeric

White fish fillets, such as cod skinned and cut into bite-size chunks

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Fresh dill

Groundnut (peanut) oil

Roasted peanuts

Spring onions (scallions), cut into bite-size pieces

Fresh basil, stalks removed, leaves chopped

Fresh coriander (cilantro), stalks removed

Lime, cut into quarters

Nuoc cham sauce, to serve

Method :
  • Mix the flour with the turmeric and toss the fish chunks in it until well coated. Heat the oil in a wok or heavy pan and cook the fish in batches until crisp and golden.

  • Drain on kitchen paper.

  • Scatter some of the dill fronds on a serving dish, arrange the fish on top and keep warm.

  • Chop some of the remaining dill fronds and set aside for garnishing.

  • Heat the groundnut oil in a small pan or wok. Stir in the peanuts and cook for 1 minute.

  • Add the spring onions, the remaining dill fronds, basil and coriander.

  • Stir fry for no more than 30 seconds, then spoon the herbs and peanuts over the fish.
    Garnish with the chopped dill and serve with lime wedges and nuoc cham to drizzle over the top.

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