Dill is one of those herbs that has the power to transport me back to my mom’s kitchen. I can envision it bubbling away in her chicken soup. I have to say it is one of my favorites herbs; and it’s very versatile – but when I think of dill, I think of European dishes, not Vietnamese ones.
Cha Ca La Vong is apparently a 100-year-old iconic restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. They only serve one item: grilled fish with turmeric and dill.
My version is not a classic preparation at all, but I used the turmeric and dill combination (which tastes WAY better than it sounds) and combined it with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. It was outrageous! It’s a great dish for those non-fish lovers to try, because if you use a firm fleshed white fish, it’s not “fishy” (well, no fish should be fishy, but you know what I mean!)
You don’t need to use the Lemongrass or Kaffir Lime Leaves to make this dish taste great – but it adds a wonderful floral note. (those are amazon affiliate links above, if you choose to purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the sale at no cost to you)
I chopped the lemongrass by hand, but you can definitely buzz it through the food processor (just make sure it is dry)
Vietnamese Inspired Fish (Cha Ca La Vong)
- 1.5 pounds Grouper (or other firm white fleshed fish)
- 1 Teaspoon kosher Salt (to taste)
- pepper, to taste
- 1 Teaspoon onion powder
- 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
- 2 Tablespoons lemongrass, minced
- 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced (can use jar or paste)
- 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced (can use jar or paste)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro (or parsley)
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 2-3 Kaffir lime leaves
- Season the portioned fish with salt, pepper, onion powder and turmeric and set aside in oven safe dish.
- Cut off the very bottom of the lemongrass (stem) and discard. Make a cut about 3-4 inches up from the bottom and roughly slice. (the thinner the slice, the finer the food processor will cut it down) Add to food processor and chop until you get a fine mince.
- In a sauce pot, saute the minced lemongrass, ginger and garlic until light golden brown. Add the coconut milk and stir until well combined. Add chopped cilantro (or parsley)
- Add coconut milk over fish, and top with freshly chopped dill.
- Add a few kaffir lime leaves. Rub them through your hands to release the oils before adding.
- Cook uncovered at 375F until cooked through (about 10-12 minutes) Serve with rice to sop up the delicious juices.