<I>Cha Ca Thang Long</I>
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- add 1/2 pound dried vermicelli rice noodles
- add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- add 1 Vietnamese sesame rice cracker (also called <I>banh da</I>), toasted and broken into shards
- add 1 teaspoon salt
- add 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- add 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- add 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 1/2 medium limes)
- add 2 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- add <B>For sauce:</B>
- add 1 head red leaf lettuce
- add 1 cup fried peanuts*
- add <B>For fish</B>
- add 1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- add 2 bunches fresh dill, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
- add 2 teaspoons sugar
- add <B>For serving:</B>
- add 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- add 10 to 12 sprigs of some or all of the following fresh herbs: mint, Thai basil, Vietnamese balm (<I>kinh gioi</I>), red perilla (<I>tia to</I>), and cilantro
- add 1 shallot, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- add 4 (1/2 pound) pieces catfish or red snapper fillets (2 pounds total)
- add 4 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- add *Fried peanuts are available at Asian markets.
- Prepare fish:
- In small bowl, whisk together sugar, turmeric, salt, pepper, garlic, and shallot. Place in large sealable plastic bag with fish and refrigerate 15 minutes.
- Make sauce:
- In medium bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and 2/3 cup water until sugar dissolves, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
- Prepare accompaniments:
- In heavy, 6-quart pot, bring 8 cups water to boil. Add noodles and boil until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in colander, rinse with warm water, and let drain completely.
- Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400°F. Place rice cracker directly on rack and heat until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. The cracker will blister as it toasts. When cool enough to handle, break cracker into shards and place on small plate.
- Place peanuts in small bowl and arrange lettuce and herbs on platter.
- Grill fish:
- Preheat grill (high heat). Grill fish, turning once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes total.
- Meanwhile, place cast iron dish on grill over high heat.
- When fish is cooked, place on heated dish, then top with onion and fresh dill.
- Immediately but carefully pour vegetable oil on top. This will create smoke coming up from food. Serve immediately with sauce and accompaniments.