This recipe intrigued me at once when I saw it on Sandra’s Please Pass the Recipe. Firstly because I’ve never cooked Vietnamese before, and secondly because although fish and dill are a well-known combination (especially in Scandinavia), I had never heard of dill being used in Asian cuisine. This is how Sandra described it: “Cha ca la vong, originates from a single restaurant with a huge reputation in Hanoi. Essentially it’s white, firm fleshed fish marinated with turmeric, pan fried, tossed with fresh dill and served with peanuts and nuoc cham, the Vietnamese sauce that makes everything taste good.” I had picked up some fresh turbot fillets and thought it would be nice to prepare them this way. I’m glad that I did, because it was easy to prepare and delicious!
I have never been to Vietnam and I’ve only been to a Vietnamese restaurant once (fermentAsian in Barossa Valley, Australia, which I liked a lot), so I am in no position to tell you whether this is authentic Vietnamese or not. I can however tell you that it was delicious and this is definitely worth trying. Thanks for sharing, Sandra! For the same reason, I have not made any changes to the recipe except for the choice of fish.
2 turbot fillets, or other white, firm fleshed fish fillets, about 400 grams (.9 lb)
For the marinade
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cm (.6″) fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp palm sugar, grated, or brown sugar
1/4 tsp crushed dried chillis
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
For finishing the dish
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp water
plenty of fresh dill, roughly chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), sliced
2 lime wedges
handful of roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
For the nuoc cham
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp palm sugar, grated, or brown sugar
1 Tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
Carefully turn over the fish and cook on the other side for a few minutes as well until the fish is almost cooked through. The fish should not be overcooked because that would make it dry and fall apart!
I served it with stir-fried chinese cabbage (seasoned with fish sauce, garlic, and lime juice) and white rice.