This Vietnamese Galangal Lemongrass Grilled Fish is fragrant and flavorful. Serve it with rice vermicelli noodles, lettuce, and fresh herbs for a light yet filling meal.
We’ve made this quick and easy lemongrass grilled fish a few times this summer. It is an excellent topping to add to your rice noodle bowls.
The Vietnamese name of the dish is “cá nướng riềng sả”. Its flavors have some similarities to the famous chả cá Hà Nội (Vietnamese turmeric fish with dill and scallion) but the cooking process is simpler. If you like cha ca, I’m sure you will enjoy this dish too.
🐟 Fish: I recommend using white, meaty fish for the best flavor and texture. Some excellent choices are: white pomfret, grouper, monkfish, halibut, and tilapia.
You can also choose whether to use fillets or whole fish. I like to use fish fillets and slice into chunks, which will make the dish easy to serve once cooked. If you prefer whole fish, you may want to score the thickest part of the fish to let the flavors penetrate easily.
🧄 Aromatics and spices: you will need lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallot, red chili, turmeric, and five spice powder. You may need to visit an Asian grocery store to buy lemongrass and galangal. All the aromatics will need to be finely pounded with a mortar and pestle, or a quicker way is to blitz everything in a small food processor.
🧂Seasonings: you will need some fish sauce, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar to season the fish.
How to Make Lemongrass Grilled Fish
First, blitz all the aromatics and then mix with the spices and seasonings. Then marinate the fish for about 30 minutes or longer if you have time.
Next, grill the fish until just cooked through. Try not to overcook or it will be tough and dry. I use a grill pan to cook, but an outdoor grill will also work. If neither is an option, you can pan-sear the fish chunks.
How to Serve Vietnamese Grilled Fish
My favorite way to enjoy ca nuong rieng sa is serving it on top of a rice noodle bowl which consists of: rice vermicelli noodles, soft lettuce, fresh herbs, and roasted peanuts. If possible, use a combination of Asian herbs, such as cilantro, peppermint, spearmint, Thai basil, and perilla leaves.
We will also need to prepare a small bowl of nước chấm (Vietnamese dipping sauce) on the side to lightly dress the noodle salad. You can make it with fish sauce, sugar, rice vinegar (or lime juice), minced garlic, and water.
It is also possible to make fresh spring rolls with this grilled fish recipe. You can add vermicelli noodles, lettuce, julienned carrot or cucumber, and fresh herbs to the rolls. However you serve it, I hope you will like this simple yet flavorful Vietnamese grilled fish.
Other Asian fish recipes you may like:
More easy grilling recipes to try:
⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Grilled Fish with Lemongrass and Galangal
For the Fish
- 1 lb fish fillets
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or sake
- 1 large thumb-sized piece of galangal, peeled (a large thumb-sized piece)
- 5-6 large lemongrass stalks, white and light green parts only
- 1 bird's-eye chili, seeds removed (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sliced garlic
- 2 tablespoons sliced shallots
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (plus more for grilling)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3/8 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
To Serve (customized to your liking)
- rice vermicelli noodles, prepared according to package instructions (2-3 servings)
- soft lettuce
- fresh herbs
- roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- sliced cucumber
- Vietnamese nuoc cham dipping sauce (See Notes for recipe)
- Slice the fish fillets into 1-inch thick chunks and toss with the salt and rice wine. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. If you prefer to use whole fish, score the thickest part of the fish with a few diagonal lashes on both sides.
- Roughly chop the galangal and thinly slice the lemongrass. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallot and chili into fine pieces. Alternatively, you can blitz everything into fine pieces in a food processor.
- In a large shallow plate or a mixing bowl, mix the pounded aromatics with fish sauce, oyster sauce, cooking oil, turmeric powder, five spice powder, black pepper and sugar. Add the fish chunks and toss well. Marinate for 30 minutes or longer if you have time.
- Preheat your grill over medium heat until it is very hot. Oil the grates well, then add the fish chunks in a single layer. Grill each side for about 2-3 minutes or until just cooked through.
- Transfer fish to a serving plates. Serve with rice vermicelli noodles, lettuce, fresh herbs, roasted peanuts and dipping sauce right away. Each person can prepare their own noodle bowls with the grilled fish at the table.
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or lime juice
- 5 tablespoons warm water
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic