Turmeric-Marinated Swordfish with Dill and Rice Noodles

Hanoi restaurant Cha Ca La Vong’s unequivocally delicious cha ca—the city’s most famous fish dish—was a favorite with the French more than a century ago. The turmeric-ginger-chile–dressed fish showered with herbs created a neighborhood frenzy, and dozens of copycat eateries sprang up. The restaurant’s street was even renamed as a tribute.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • Four 1-inch-long pieces 
of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped

  • 1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger

  • 1 tablespoon shrimp or anchovy paste 

  • 2 Thai chiles, minced

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless swordfish or monkfish fillet, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

  • 6 ounces thin rice noodles

  • Boiling water

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or 
low-sodium broth

  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 medium onion, halved 
and thinly sliced

  • 10 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • 1 cup chopped dill

  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves

  • 1/2 cup mint leaves

  • 1/2 cup Thai or sweet basil leaves

  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts

  • Crispy Shallots (see Note), for serving

  • Little Gem or Bibb lettuce leaves, for serving


How to make this recipe

  1. In a mini food processor, puree the turmeric, ginger, shrimp paste, 1 chile and 2 tablespoons of the oil until a paste forms. Scrape into a large bowl, add the fish and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Cover; let marinate 
in the refrigerator for 4 hours. 


  2. In a large, deep baking dish, cover the rice noodles with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain well, then transfer to 4 bowls. 


  3. In a small bowl, whisk the stock with the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, 1 garlic clove and the remaining chile. 


  4. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil until shimmering. Add the fish and cook over moderately high heat, turning once or twice, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the bowls. 


  5. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, about 
5 minutes. Add the scallions and the remaining garlic and cook, stirring, until just softened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in the herbs. Spoon over the fish and top with 
the peanuts and shallots. Serve right away, passing the sauce and lettuce leaves at the table.


Contributed By Photo © Con Poulos Published May 2017

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