Hanoi-Style Fried Fish (Cha Ca Hanoi)

Hanoi-style Fried Fish

Part two of Jake’s homecoming meal from Annabel Jackson’s cookbook “Street Cafe Vietnam.” Though I added a touch too much salt, this still ended up yummy as heck. And (as you can see), the most beautiful color of yellow EVER. Also, please note the final photo in this entry, me drinking a can of Wanglaoji (a sweet herbal tea that is found in almost every restaurant in China and which is as familiar to me as Pepsi). I found this at the local Asian supermarket which just happens to be a mere 4 blocks directly down the street from our apartment. I am absolutely not ashamed to admit that I broke down into tears in the middle of the supermarket when I found this stuff because it immediately made me homesick for Xiasha dinners with good friends like Molly and Heidi and others. I miss you guys and I definitely miss living in China. It was nice to have a little bit of China here in my kitchen in Tucson. This fried fish was delish (hahaha) and was great all by itself. As you can see from the recipe below, it’s recommended that this is served with rice vermicelli and herb leaves. Well, we ate this one the same night as our spring rolls and we were already SO full that we decided to forgo the extra stuff and just dip our chopsticks in to the fish all by itself. Either way, it’s yummy.

Hanoi-Style Fried Fish (Cha Ca Hanoi)
3 tablespoons nuoc mam
1 teaspoon each sea salt and ground black pepper
1 pound firm white fish fillets (we used cod), cut into bite-sized pieces
vegetable oil for cooking
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons spring onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
8oz. rice vermicelli, cooked
leaves of fresh herbs such as mint, coriander, basil and Thai basil
nuoc cham dipping sauce

1. Mix together the nuoc mam, salt and pepper. Add the fish and leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
2. Pour a generous coating of oil into a frying pan. When hot, add the turmeric and ginger.
3. Mix well, then stir in the pieces of marinated fish.
4. Cook over a moderate heat for a few minutes.
5. Just before the fish is cooked, add the dill, spring onions and peanuts to the pan. Cook for a further 1 minute.
6. To serve, eat in individual bowls with the vermicelli, herb leaves and nuoc cham.

Wanglaoji for dessert! Oh memories of Asia...


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