Pan-Fried Vietnamese Fish Recipe (Ca Chi Vang)

Pan-Fried Vietnamese Fish Recipe (Ca Chi Vang) Recipe

This fish is called "cá chỉ vàng", which literally translates to "golden thread fish". It tastes sweet and the texture is similar to a flattened sardine. It's not the easiest product to find, but if you come across it, you have to give this a try!

The preparation is ultra simple. All you need to do is re-hydrate it overnight and pan-fry it the next day with a little garlic. I've been struggling to get back into a routine since returning from our trip to Paris, so easy, flavorful dishes like this are really helpful to know.


Yields: 4 servings

30 cá chỉ vàng dried fish fillets
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste (see tips)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
¼ cup palm sugar, freshly grated
2 tablespoons mirin
½ lime, freshly squeezed
¼ cup nước mắm


Prepping the dried fish: Place the dried fish fillets in a deep glass baking dish. Cover with cold water and let sit overnight or at least 8 hours.

The next day...

Cooking the fish: Pat the fillets dry with paper towels. Using a brush, lightly coat the fillets with oil. Brush a hot non-stick griddle pan with a generous layer of oil. When the pan is hot, add the garlic and cook until slightly golden, then add the ginger garlic paste. Once the oil is hot, place the fish, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pan-fry for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and flip the fish skin side up for an additional minute. 

For the ginger dipping sauce (nước mắm gừng)In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in ¼ cup boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature. Add the chopped ginger, mirin and lime juice. Mix well and let sit until you're ready to serve.

Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice, đô chua (pickled carrots and daikon) and nước mắm dipping sauce on the side.

Bon appétit!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming that cá chỉ vàng is the equivalent of the French fish "lieu jaune", which is the prized small saltwater pollock fish.

Little reminder on how to make ginger garlic paste: Clean a (3 to 4-inch) piece of ginger, carefully removing any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife or the edge of a spoon, then finely chop it. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender and add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 29, 2012.


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