HIGHLIGHTS

Close
Grocery Coupons

Grocery Coupons

Members can print free savings coupons

Brain Health Center

Brain Health Center

Learn how to live smart and stay sharp

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Members save on e-
readers and tablets

Caring for loved ones?

Caring for loved ones?

Find the resources you need

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules.

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Commented

Cha Ca Fish with Fresh Dill, Hanoi Style Recipe

Cookstr
Course: Main Course
Total Time: Under 30 Minutes
Skill Level: Easy
Cost: Inexpensive
  • Print
  • Bookmark
  • Recommend
 Cha Ca Fish with Fresh Dill, Hanoi Style

Photo by:

Imagine a dish so inviting and delicious that it earns a place on the map of a city, and so appealing that it supports a family-run restaurant from one century into the next through decades of war and times of hardship, right on into the new millennium. That legendary dish is Hanoi’s cha ca, made with chunks of freshwater fish seasoned with galanga (a member of the ginger family) and garlic, colored with turmeric to a warm golden hue, and grilled over charcoal for a smoky note. Then it is fried up with handfuls of fresh dill on a tabletop stove and served over thin rice noodles, shredded lettuce, chopped peanuts, and nuoc cham. Customers flock to Cha Ca La Vong, located on Hanoi’s Cha Ca Street, just to feast on this unique and venerable dish at its source. My streamlined version of cha ca gives you a delicious, aromatic, and gorgeous dish so appealing you will want to make it often, and so easy that you can do just that. You can also omit accompaniments, sprinkle with the chopped peanuts, and serve cha ca ha noi as a main dish.

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

for the marinade

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger or fresh or frozen galanga
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound firm-fleshed fish fillets, such as catfish, monkfish, or tilapia

accompaniments

  • ½ pound thin, dried rice noodles, softened in warm water for at least 15 minutes, or angel hair pasta
  • 3 cup shredded lettuce leaves, such as Boston, Bibb or oak leaf
  • 1 cup fresh mint, cilantro, or Asian basil leaves
  • ½ cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts
  • Double recipe Everyday Dipping Sauce

for cooking the fish

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh dill
  • 5 green onions, trimmed, white part chopped, and green part cut into 2-inch lengths

Directions

To marinate the fish: in a medium bowl, combine the fish sauce, oil, ginger, turmeric, and salt and stir to mix well. Cut the fish into big bite-sized chunks (2 or 3 inches square) and add them to the bowl, tossing to coat well. Set aside while you prepare the noodles and other accompaniments, or cover and chill to marinate for up to 1 day.

To cook the rice noodles: bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Drain the soaked noodles well, drop them into the boiling water, and immediately remove from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes, drain well, and set aside in a medium bowl. (If using angel hair pasta, cook in boiling salted water until tender but still firm, drain well, and set aside). Prepare the accompaniments so that you can serve the fish at once.

To cook the fish: place the oil, dill, and green onions by the stove. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until a bit of dill sizzles when it hits the pan. Add the fish to the pan and cook on one side for about 2 minutes. Gently turn and let the fish cook for another minute. Add the dill and green onions to the pan and cook for another minute, tossing gently to wilt the herbs. Transfer to a serving platter.

To serve this dish the classic small-bowl way, start each guest off with a small bowl holding a portion of each accompaniment: noodles, lettuce, and a few leaves of mint, cilantro, or Asian basil. Top with a piece or two of fish with dill and green onions, sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and drizzle with a spoonful of Everyday Dipping Sauce. Invite your guests to continue serving themselves in this way.

To serve the big-noodle-bowl way, divide the accompaniments, fish, dill, and green onions among 4 big noodle bowls or pasta plates. Season each bowl with Everyday Dipping Sauce and invite each guest to toss with chopsticks or a fork and spoon, and enjoy.


© 2006 Nancie McDermott
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information does not include Everyday Dipping Sauce. For nutritional information on Everyday Dipping Sauce, please follow the link above.

491kcal (25%)
78mg (8%)
13mg (22%)
171mcg RAE (6%)
588mg
95mg
27g
1g
3g
53g
91mg (30%)
620mg (26%)
2g (11%)
19g (29%)
3mg (17%)
FROM THE KITCHEN OF...

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Denny's Ranchero Tilapia

Members save 15% every day when dining at participating Denny's restaurants.

Outback Steak

Members save 15% Mon-Thurs & during weekend lunch at Outback Steakhouse.

McCormick and Schmicks (McCormick and Schmicks)

Members save 10% every day when dining at McCormick and Schmick's.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today