Fried rockling with turmeric, dill and vermicelli

Fried rockling with turmeric, dill and vermicelli

Michael Fountoulakis

The trick with this recipe is that the fish is cooked twice—first grilled, then fried—so the dish needs a firm white-fleshed fish that does not come apart easily when cooked. This is an ideal winter dish with diners huddling around the burner on those cold Hanoi evenings, taking in the rich aromas of the dish.


Quantity Ingredient
3cm knob galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
1 long red chilli, seeded
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon caster sugar
3 tablespoons fermented prawns or fish sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons water
800g rockling, or other firm white fish
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
200g rice vermicelli
2 large handfuls dill sprigs
12 spring onions, thickly sliced
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped


Quantity Ingredient
1 large handful thai basil leaves
1 large handful coriander leaves
classic dipping sauce


  1. Place galangal, chilli, turmeric and sugar in a mortar and grind to a paste. Add the fermented prawns (or fish sauce) and water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove the skin and bones from the fish and cut into 3 cm chunks. Pour the marinade over the fish and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours. Remove from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Heat a grill or barbecue. When hot, chargrill the fish on both sides until lines appear, but remove before the fish is cooked all the way through.
  4. Have some hot oil ready for the second cooking stage. Add a third of the grilled fish pieces and deep-fry for 3–4 minutes, turning once. Add a third of the dill and spring onions and toss until wilted. Drain the fish and herbs.
  5. Place some vermicelli in the bottom of 6 serving bowls and top with the cooked fish and herbs. Now the peanuts can be scattered over the fish and it can be eaten with the accompaniments.
  6. Fry the remaining fish and herbs and encourage diners to continue piling nests of noodles and fish into their bowls.
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