Monday, April 6, 2009

Chả Cá (Vietnamese Fish Patty)

My family is Catholic and so every year during Lent, we abstain from eating meat on Fridays. While the idea is to be giving up something, sometimes we eat equally as well, if not better on Fridays. I remember my French Canadian history teacher telling us the same story, about her mom coming home with lobster and delicious seafood on Fridays. One recipe my mom often makes during these Fridays is chả cá (Vietnamese fish patty), a fish version of nem nướng (grilled pork meatballs).

Chả Cá (Vietnamese Fish Patty)
My mom buys frozen ground fish at the Asian store but you could ground some yourself. My mom has had the best results texture wise with kingfish. She tried tilapia and didn’t like it. She hasn’t tried basa yet. My mom adds shrimp but you could make it with fish only, shrimp only or any combination of both.

* 400 g ground fish
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1-½ tsp salt
* ½ tsp sugar
* ½ ground pepper
* 1 tsp cornstarch

Mix the ground fish with all the ingredients above.

The ground fish my mom buys is made out of grey featherback filet.

* ground fish mixture
* 400 g shrimp
* ½ tsp salt
* ½ ground pepper
* 1 small onion, diced very small
* 2 egg yolks, beaten

In a food processor, blend the shrimp, onion, salt and pepper together.
Add the ground fish mixture and blend again.
Place mixture into a lined 9" pan.
Spread the beaten egg on top of the fish mixture (similarly to making chả hấp).
Steam for about 15-20 minutes.
Slice into thin pieces.

Processing the shrimp and mixing it with the fish.

Ram tôm (fried shrimp spring rolls) and slices of chả cá (Vietnamese fish patty).

Roll with ram tôm (fried shrimp spring rolls), lettuce, cucumber, fresh herbs, green apple in rice paper (pictures with nem nướng - grilled pork meatballs).
Dip in Thai chili sauce or the sauce for nem nướng.

Rolling everything together for a perfect package.

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