Vietnamese flavours

Vietnamese flavours

Cod, turmeric and dill noodles. Photo: Laura EdwardsNo combination of flavours can create a party in your mouth the way a Vietnamese meal can. Just the anticipation of those contrasting textures, vibrant aromas – and that all-important balance of salty, sweet, sour and hot – always brings a smile to my face.
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Hanoi’s cha ca la vong is one of the most fragrant dishes you’ll ever come across. Don’t be shy with the dill – it’s what makes the dish – and using the nuoc cham as a dressing or dipping sauce will immediately add that zingy Vietnamese kick.


3 cloves, garlic crushed

2cm ginger, grated

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp crushed dried chillies

600g skinned cod, cut into chunks

2 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and white pepper

1 large bunch dill, roughly chopped

3 spring onions (scallions), sliced

1/2 lemon

250g rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet instructions

3 tbsp toasted peanuts, crushed

nuoc cham

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, chopped

1 tbsp caster sugar

3 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp fish sauce

For the cod, combine the garlic, ginger, turmeric, fish sauce, caster sugar and crushed chillies in a bowl. Add the fish, cover and marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes.

To make the nuoc cham, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat. Season marinated fish with white pepper, add to frying pan and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the fillets, cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, bring to a simmer. Gently fold through the dill and spring onions. Once wilted remove from the heat and add a squeeze of lemon. Check the seasoning, adding salt if needed.

Serve the fish with the noodles, peanuts and nuoc cham in separate bowls so everyone can help themselves.


I’ll often eat this as a meal in its own right, it’s so satisfying.


1 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tbsp light-flavoured oil

1kg pork belly, rind scored

1 pomelo, peeled and cut into segments

1 green mango, peeled and julienned

handful mint leaves

handful basil leaves

handful coriander leaves

2 spring onions (scallions), shredded

nuoc cham, to taste (see recipe above)

2 tbsp toasted peanuts, crushed

1 tbsp fried shallots

1 red chilli, sliced

Combine the sugar, fish sauce, garlic and oil into a shallow dish. Add the pork. Turn well in the marinade, cover and chill for 30 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the pork on a roasting tray and season the rind with salt. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the rind is crackled. Reduce the temperature to 180°C and roast for 1 hour and 40 minutes, or until very tender. Set aside to cool then shred into small pieces.

Place the pomelo, mango, herbs, spring onion, shredded pork and nuoc cham on a large platter and gently toss. Scatter with peanuts, fried shallots and sliced chilli and serve.

Bill’s tipDuring the week, when time is rushed, you can substitute poached chicken or prawns for the slow-cooked pork.


Food preparation by Marina Filippelli. Props styling by Rachel Jukes.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.