Cha Ca La Vong

Vietnamese Turmeric and Chilli Spiced Cod with Rice Noodles, Peanuts and Herbs


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Mighty Spice Cookbook

Mighty Spice Cookbook

By John Gregory-Smith

Published 2012

  • About

Cha Ca La Vong is a famous restaurant in Hanoi that serves just one dish: ’Cha Ca’ or fried fish. It is served with spring onions at your table in a frying pan, sizzling on top of a small barbecue.


  • 50 g/ oz/ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 250 g/9 oz rice noodles
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 handful dill, chopped
  • 1 handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 handful mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 cod fillets, about 200 g/7 oz each, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8–10 spring onions, halved and finely sliced lengthways
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped


    1. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the peanuts and gently toast, shaking the pan occasionally, for 2–3 minutes, or until the peanuts are a beautiful golden brown. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool.
    2. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, drain and immediately refresh under cold water. Drain well then transfer to a bowl, dress with 2 tablespoons of the oil to stop them sticking and set aside. Put the dill, coriander and mint together into one bowl and the peanuts into another.
    3. In a large mixing bowl mix together the turmeric and flour. Dip the cod pieces into the flour, making sure every piece is completely coated.
    4. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the cod, turning occassionally, for 2–3 minutes, or until the flesh turns opaque and is flaky to the touch.
    5. Add the spring onions, fish sauce and lime juice and gently mix until well combined.
    6. Scatter the red chilli over the top and serve with the noodles, herbs and peanuts on the side to mix together as you like.