Hanoi Turmeric Fish with Dill

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.


For 2 servings

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


Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.

Stir to mix.

Cut the fish into pieces and coat with the marinade.

Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the nuoc cham dipping sauce by combining the ingredients. Put the sauce into individual bowls to serve on the side.

When the fish has marinated, heat the oil in non-stick frying pan and add the fish. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat.

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!

Add the water…

…as well as the dill and spring onions.

Toss very gently to avoid breaking up the fish.

Serve on warm plates with roasted peanuts and a lime wedge and the nuoc cham on the side.

I served it with stir-fried chinese cabbage (seasoned with fish sauce, garlic, and lime juice) and white rice.


12 thoughts on “Hanoi Turmeric Fish with Dill

  1. These flavors look amazing, Stefan.I am glad you found some international food inspiration from another blog. I will definitely try this; I, too, do not know a lot about Vietnamese food – but, the ingredients looks scrumptious!


  2. Stefan, this looks and sounds great! I love Vietnamese food. We have a Vietnamese restaurant near the house that we like a lot. As I understand it, because Vietnam was a French colony, there is a lot of French influence in Vietnamese cuisine. In addition to French influences, many of the flavors (fish sauce, galangal, palm sugar) are similar to Cambodian, Malay and Thai cuisines. At some point, the Portuguese introduced chiles into the cuisine. 🙂 Vietnamese cuisine, however, isn’t overly hot. In the south, many herbs and spices come from India. With all of these influences, Vietnamese food may well be the original fusion cuisine. 😀


  3. I’m so glad Stefan that you were inspired by my post enough to try the recipe, and so glad you enjoyed it. It’s my birthday today so your post was a lovely present! Little Vietnam is only one block from my house, we love Viet food and eat there often. Richard is right, it is the original fusion cuisine. New cookbook acquisitions will see me experimenting more with SE Asian cuisine this year.


  4. In Australia Vietnamese food has been quite the ‘flavour of the month’ for quite a few years now and a large number of people are taking their annual holidays doing exciting ‘food tours’ to the country. Hope to join them myself next year ~ it is a beautiful country in addition to the food and the French influence is still very much present 🙂 ! Supposedly it has the best street food in the world – a way of living!! As I have found to my surprise dill is not only used in Vietnam but India etc. I cook ‘Vietnames’ of ‘V + fusion] a few times a week and your recipe, as far as I am concerned, is an appetizing classic!!


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