Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Noodles (Cha Ca La Vong)
Vietnamese turmeric fish with noodles (Cha Ca La Vong) is a delicious and iconic dish of Hanoi. Chunks of flavorful fish are plated on a bed of aromatic green scallions and dill, boasting unique dining experience.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 2 people
For the fish
- 1 lb fish fillet (see recipe notes below for recommendation)
- 1 2-inch long galangal
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tablespoon shrimp paste
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons oil
For the dipping sauce
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 10-15 stalks of scallions
- 1.5 oz dills
- vermicelli noodles
- roasted peanuts (unsalted)
- more cooking oil
Slice fish into 1/2 - 3/4-inch thick pieces. You may need to slice on an angle to have wide pieces.
Peel galangal, slice and finely chop. If possible, use a pestle and mortal to crush into finer pieces (about 3 tablespoons).
In a mixing bowl, add fish and all ingredients in the first group and mix well. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes or more for a tastier result.
Cut scallions into 2-inch long pieces, keep the white and green parts separated. Also cut dills into 2-inch long pieces.
Whisk together all ingredients for the dipping sauce, taste and adjust to your liking.
Prepare vermicelli noodles according to package instructions.
After fish has been marinated, remove from the refrigerator. Place a pan over medium high heat, add cooking oil, put fish in a single layer and sear and both sides to cook. You may need to sear in several batches. Another option is to broil fish on high for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate.
Wipe the pan clean, place over medium - medium high heat. Add oil and then add the white part of scallions. Sauté for about a minute until color starts to develop, then add the green part. Sauté for 20-30 seconds and then add dill. Give everything a quick mix to combine and wilt the dill.
Add fish slices to the pan, stir to mix with scallions and dills. Be careful to not break the fish slices.
Transfer everything to a preheated cast iron fajita plate or a regular plate and serve immediately with noodles, roasted peanuts and dipping sauce.
- You should use fillets of fairly firm white fish. Over the years, we have tried making it with cod, halibut, catfish, grouper, and monkfish. They are all great choices, but the best one is monkfish. Cod can be delicate when cooked.
- If you have a portable burner, you can try serving it at the table in the same way as at Vietnamese restaurants. After step 7, at your dining table, turn on the portable burner, place a skillet over it. When the skillet is hot, continue with step 8 and 9.
- If you don't like shrimp paste, just substitute with fish sauce. If you are unable to find galangal, increase the amount of shallot and add a small amount of ginger.