|A dish that offers an explosion of taste and smell|
It is said that there is a restaurant in Hanoi that sells only cha ca , or grilled fish in Vietnamese. In fact, the dish is so popular that the street where the shop is situated was renamed Cha C a Street.
It would be another one odd month before I get to relish the famous fish dish. Meanwhile, in my little kitchen in Singapore, I am pre-empting my cha ca feast by whipping up one myself.
Girlgirl, whose delicate palate does not take to anything too strong tasting , was enthusiastically attacking the fish from the word go. In my opinion, the winning factor has to do with the caramelized crust formed by the fish sauce and sugar and the complex aroma from the herbs and garnish. To bring out the best of the garnish, toss or place the hot fish on the garnish for a surprisingly aromatic effect.
1 knob of fresh turmeric
1 knob of ginger
White tip of lemongrass
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp of oil
Dash of Thai or Viet fish sauce
Salmon fillet, about the size of the palm
Dill, parsley.basil leaves - chopped
Fish sauce and lime juice
Warning : turmeric stains are near impossible to remove. Process the root in plastic bags and you will not even need to touch or stain your fingers at all.
In a double bag, place fresh turmeric , ginger,lemongrass, garlic cloves. With a mallet, crush the contents, taking care not to break the bag.
Add sugar, fish sauce and oil into the bag. Shake to mix. Add the fish to the spices, shake to coat the fish and chill for about 3 hours.
In a pan with hot oil at medium high heat, shallow fry the fish until crispy, on both sides.
Transfer the fish to the plate with garnish. Serve with dip of lime and chilli.