Turmeric Dill Fish (Cha Ca)

  • 1.5 lbs of filleted white fish (Fresh is best but frozen is okay. Catfish is best, if not, basa swai fillet. if not, then rock fish or tilapia works too)
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup 2% greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp of chopped galanga (frozen okay). SUB: minced ginger
  • Garlic powder (optional)
  • Corn starch (optional)
  • 1 Shallot (optional)
  • 2 tsp vodka or rum (optional, can use cooking wine too)
  • 1 tbsp mayo (optional)

  • 1 package vermicelli noodles
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • Mint
  • Lettuce, chopped
  • Chopped peanuts

Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste (sub: fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Garlic chili paste (rooster kind, or just sriracha)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 lime or lemon

PREP (at least 2 hours before cooking, or night before):
  1. Cut fish fillet into pieces about 4 inches long
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the marinade.
    • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
    • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
    • 1 tsp of shrimp paste OR 2 tsp fish sauce
    • 2 tbsp chopped galanga OR ginger
    • Some garlic powder
    • 1 shallot, diced
    • Optional: either 2 tsp vodka, rum, OR cooking wine + 1 tbsp mayo
  3. Smother fish fillets in marinade, coating evenly
  4. Marinate in fridge
  1. Slice green onions into 3 inch long pieces. Slice garlic into thin slices vertically.
  2. GREENS: Pan fry garlic and greens onions separately in olive oil, turn off stove then throw dill on top at end - don’t overcook dill.
  3. NOODLES: At the same time, cook noodles and set aside.
  4. FISH: Dust fish w cornstarch to make crispy. Pan fry fish with canola oil until crispy on each side. Set aside, fry in batches if needed.
Combine the following in a bowl:
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste OR fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • Garlic chili paste
  • Half a lime/lemon


  1. When fish is ready, garnish the herbs on top.
  2. Make a big bowl: Add noodles, lettuce, mint, fish n herbs, and sauce. Garnish with peanuts.

From a cooking class with Steph Phan