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Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill (Cha Ca La Vong)

Originating in Hanoi, this Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill is flavourful, refreshing and fragrant. Served with Nuoc Cham sauce, fresh herbs, roasted peanuts and rice vermicelli noodles, it makes a wholesome and simply delicious dinner.

Ever since visiting Hanoi 2 years ago, I have been obsessed with this dish. Not only is it so simple to make, it’s actually good for you. The fish is marinated in a generous amount of turmeric (has anti-inflammatory properties), garlic (contains allicin, which helps ward away bacterial infections), and ginger (helps aid digestion).

Traditionally, Cha Ca La Vong is served with sautéed herbs, spring onions, rice vermicelli noodles and Nuoc Cham sauce (which is made of water, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chilli), and topped with crushed peanuts and more fresh herbs. The only difference is in restaurants, the fish is cooked at the table over smokey coals, and in the home-cooked version, it’s all pan fried.

The best thing is it will take you less than 30 minutes to make, from start to finish (and it's gluten-free)!

Key Ingredients

Fish sauce - I know many people can’t stand the smell, and if you’re one of those people, please don’t let it put you off. Fish sauce gives the fish a salty umami flavour and adds SO much depth. Go for a good quality fish sauce and make sure it’s gluten-free if you’re gluten intolerant. I like the brand Squid Brand as it's free from preservatives and MSG.

White Fish - I used wild cod loins, as they’re firm, flakey and succulent. You can, however, use any firm white fish such as seabass or catfish.

Fresh herbs - dill and coriander are commonly used in Cha Ca La Vond. They add freshness and fragrance to the dish. I know coriander tastes like soap to some, so if that’s you then you can omit it (just don’t leave out the dill)! Mint is also a nice addition to the mix.

Ground turmeric - the star ingredient that adds colour and an earthy flavour.

Ginger and garlic - make the dish extra flavourful.

Avocado oil - my favourite oil to use but especially great in this recipe due to it’s high smoke point.


Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill (Cha Ca La Vong)

Serves: 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes


For the fish:

2 wild cod loins, cut into chunks

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tbsp fish sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp ginger, minced

Salt to taste

Ground black pepper (optional)

Large handful fresh dill, coarsely chopped

3 spring onions, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 tbsp avocado oil

For the dipping sauce (Nuoc Cham):

4-6 tbsp warm water

2 tbsp fish sauce

1/2 tsp coconut sugar

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

1/2 red chilli, sliced finely (optional)

Squeeze of fresh lime juice

Serve with:

Rice vermicelli noodles

Unsalted roasted peanuts

Fresh dill



1. In a small bowl, add all of the ingredients for the Nuoc Cham and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

2. To make the fish marinade, mix together the turmeric, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper until a paste forms. Add the fish and toss to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes.

3. Heat avocado oil in a frying pan or skillet over a high heat, then fry the cod for 3-4 minutes, carefully turning half way, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the pan and fry dill and spring onions for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

4. Serve immediately with rice vermicelli noodles, Nuoc Cham, more herbs and roasted peanuts.

I hope you love this recipe!





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