Vietnamese Vermicelli with Roasted Catfish

I’ve been wanting to share a Vietnamese recipe with you all for a while now and here it is finally! But first, I think it’s necessary to mention the environmental disaster on the central coast of Vietnam that is killing millions of fishes right now, adversely impacting thousands of people’s lives, and the Vietnamese government is doing little to nothing about it. Here‘s a short article on the issue in case you are interested. No big take-away here, but my heart is heavy for my country and my people and I wanted to share the issue with you all.

Onto a happier subject, I recently had vermicelli with roasted catfish for dinner with my parents, brother, his girlfriend, Sylvia, and my fiance, Jesse. We didn’t take a group picture at the meal, but here’s an old picture of us from a couple of Christmases ago. The holidays season at my house is usually pretty quiet, but I think this Christmas in particular was pretty festive for us. We celebrated with a nice Vietnamese meal together (once step at a time, we’re still trying to assimilate to the American culture after about 20 years of being in the US- We’ll maybe ….eventually… try a turkey dinner, but not yet…) and we even exchanged gifts. It was nice! We’re almost as American as we are Vietnamese… I said “almost”!

Family_editedSince our family wouldn’t be complete without our cat, Bamboo, here’s a separate picture of him. (Bamboo is usually pretty shy. He only likes when we take pictures of him by himself or sometimes with my dad only.) This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of him. ❤

Bamboo

Alright, on to the recipe!

Fish and veggies: Prep a medium size catfish- clean and cut it open along the spine. (Be super careful prepping your fish, since catfishes are usually pretty slippery.)

Lay on an oiled pan and season with about 3 tbs of oyster sauce, 1/2 tbs of sugar, black peppers, and 2-3 sliced shallots.

Cover the fish with aluminum foil and bake at 425 degrees F for about 40 minutes. Then open the foil and broil on high for 5 minutes.

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Below are the veggies that we used to top the fish, though you can use any of your favorite veggies to substitute. Generally, the more colorful your veggies, the better the dish will look and taste.

Organic snow peas from our garden, bell peppers-red, orange and yellow, lots of mushrooms (There were more mushrooms that are not pictured. I love mushrooms!), an onion, and a few stalks of green onion.

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While the fish was baking, we cleaned, chopped and sauteed the veggies on high heat in a wok with some garlic, a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

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When the fish is done, put the mixed veggies, sprinkle a few crushed toasted peanuts, and scatter some caramelized shallots on top. Are you salivating yet?! Because I am… We’re not done yet though. Hold your horses!

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Vermicelli noodles: Boil and drain 1 or 1/2 pack of vermicelli rice noodles. We usually buy the dry noodle packs that look something like below. Personally, I don’t think there is a lot of variation between brands, so it should be fine as long as you get the “rice vermicelli” noodles- in medium or small size if you see different sizes (the XL is usually for a different noodle dish, called Bun Bo Hue, which hopefully I’ll get to make and share with you soon.) Here’s a YouTube video on how to make perfect rice vermicelli noodles by Trang at RunAwayRice.

20140724-asian-noodle-guide-rice-vermicelli-kevin-cox-1-edit

Here’s what it should look like when you’re done boiling and draining it.

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Fish sauceI forgot to take a picture of the fish sauce, but to make it, you just need to mix the below ingredients in a bowl.

1/2 cup of water (or a little bit more depending how diluted you like your sauce)
3 tbs of fish sauce
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 Tsb. minced garlic
2 minced red Thai chili pepper (optional/ more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
lime juice from 1/2 of a lime

Greens:

Lettuce, cucumber, mint, rau ram (aka. Vietnamese coriander), rau tia to (aka. red perilla) and if you are adventurous, try some rau giap ca (aka. fish mint- it naturally tastes a little fishy!).

Do make sure to add some bean sprouts if you can. I love bean sprouts with my vermicelli dishes, but we forgot to get some this time.

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Slice the cucumber, wash the greens thoroughly and cut them into small 1/2 inch pieces. Put them into serving bowl.

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Top the greens with some vermicelli noodles.

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Add some fish, mixed veggies and sauce and ENJOY!

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