Feb 09, 2021 / 10:44

Vu Dai braised fish is ready for Tet

The Ca kho Vu Dai turned to be a delicacy of the north Vietnam for over a decade ago on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

Ca kho Vu Dai or Vu Dai braised fish is a traditional Vietnamese dish originating from the Vu Dai village, also known as Dai Hoang village in the northern province of Ha Nam, some 50 kilometers away from Hanoi.

There are many places in the country have the Ca kho, but the Ca kho from Vu Dai village is considered as the best one. The villagers have their own secret recipe to cook the dish that the recipe has been passed down from generation to generation in Vu Dai village.  

The dish is prepared by Ca tram or amur fish, galangal, ginger, pork belly, shallots, chili peppers, lime juice, fish sauce, pepper, and molasses. 

 The Ca kho Vu Dai turned to be a delicacy of the north Vietnam for over a decade ago on the occasion of the Lunar New Year. 

To making the dish, ginger, shallots, chili peppers, and galangal are finely chopped and mix together with fish; while the galangal is cut into thin slices and placed into the bottom of a clay cooking pot.  Later, the galangal slices are topped with the fish and finely chopped mix of ginger, shallots, galangal, and chili peppers.
According to Mr. Tran Hong Hanh, a cook and Ca kho trader from Vu Dai village, some thick slices of pork belly are added into pot some hours after the braising process is stared to keep them not to be over cooked.   
The combination is braised for 10 to 20 hours in a mixture of fish sauce, broth mix, molasses, lime juice, and pepper under the wooden fire.
The braised fish is cooked in very low heat that cooks need to take turn for keeping the fire in a proper heat.
The freshness of the fish, the aroma of the herbs and the fragrant of the smoke of the burned wooden make the Ca kho Vu Dai dish is distinctive that could not be found elsewhere on the earth.       

When the water in the pot becomes slightly thick, the pot is taken off the heat and the fish is ready to be served and enjoyed.