A classic dish from Hanoi. Served at Chả cá Lã Vọng Restaurant in the Old Quarter at $40 per person.

  • 450 gm (1 lb) monkfish or swordfish, cut into 4 steaks
  • 1 tablespoon muoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered turmeric
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons minced galangal
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill (stems removed), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions
  • 250 gm (~1/2 lb) thin rice sticks (vermicelli noodles), softened in warm water for 15 minutes, blanched for 5 seconds, then drained
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, stems trimmed
  • 1/4 cup fresh Thai holy basil or sweet basil leaves (stems trimmed), coarsely chopped
  1. Mix the turmeric and galangal with the fish sauce until well dispersed.
  2. Cut the fish into 5 cm x 2.5 cm (2 in x 1 in)chunks. (Filleted or not)
  3. Mix the fish pieces with turmeric, galangal and fish sauce. Remove and place aside.
  4. Heat a heavy skillet, add the oil, and heat until hot. Transfer the fish into the pan, and sear over high heat for 5 or 6 minutes stirring until golden on the outside and cooked inside.
  5. Add most of the fresh dill and scallions. Stir-fry until wilted and aromatic.
  6. To serve, arrange rice noodles in bowls, and place fish on top. Sprinkle the remaining fresh herbs on top, and serve with dipping sauce.