Last night I made Cha Ca fish with tumeric to toast a very sunny and productive day in the garden. Cha ca means Catfish in Vietnamese - I used gurnard and it worked perfectly. We first had this meal in Hanoi at the 100 year old restaurant that is Ch Ca La Vong. Its famous for only cooking this one dish, and for having really surly service. The whole street is now full of Cha Cha fish specialty restaurants, but there must only be one! Here's my take on this colourful dish.
its the ultimate meal in my mind. Clean flavours, great colour, crunch 'for Africa', herbs galore, fun and easy to cook, all leading up to very interactive eating.
I followed a very true recipe (by Didier Corlou who is exec chef at Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi), including fresh tumeric root, galingal to help marinate the fish (with the ubiqitous fish sauce, some vinegar and sugar).
The 2 variations that came in were: 1) we ate it in lettuce cups, (like san choi bao or Hanoi bun cha), rather than in noodle bowls, and I forgot the dill, so 2) used coriander instead. I reckon my attempt was so good that is ressembles the google images of the real deal at Cha Ca La Vong, bar an internal brazier which has definitely got to be next piece of cooking equipment on the list.