Chả cá pan-fried fish:

  • 9 oz (257 grams) of skinless, firm/white fish-fillet such as basa, black sea bass, pacific halibut or Pacific cod
  • 1 1/2 tsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp of ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 3 heaping tbsp of chopped dill
  • 3 heaping tbsp of chopped scallion
  • 1 grated garlic

Herb salsa:

  • 15 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 4 medium-size shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp of chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbsp of chopped scallion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of chopped mint
  • 1 1/2 tsp of fish sauce + more to adjust
  • Juice from 1/2 lime (1 1/2 tbsp)

Orange red chili sambal:

  • 1 large naval orange
  • 9 large red chilis (115 grams), diced
  • 15 small red chilis (33 grams), diced
  • 7 clove of garlic
  • 4 tsp of rice vinegar
  • 3 tsp of fish sauce + more for adjusting
  • 1 1/2 tsp of sugar + more for adjusting

To serve:

  • 14 small (6″ or 15 cm) flour tortilla
  • Wedges of lime to serve


  1. To make the orange red chili sambal: (* updated 2017/05/08: forgot to add chilis in the previous instruction, DUH!) Zest 1/2 of the naval orange, then slice off the skin. Cut out each segments from the orange without the fibrous membrane. In a blender, add the orange zest, orange segments, and squeeze all the juice left from the orange. Then add the diced chilis *, garlic, rice vinegar, fish sauce and sugar, and blend until the mixture is smoothly pureed. Transfer to a small pot and cook over medium heat until reduced by 1/3 (it may splatter while simmering, so cover loosely with a lid). Adjust the seasoning with more fish sauce or sugar if needed. Keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for at least 1 day before using.
  2. To make the herb salsa: Cut the cherry tomatoes across in half, and squeeze out the excess juice then cut into dices. Mix together the diced cherry tomatoes, finely sliced shallots, chopped cilantro, chopped scallion, chopped mint, fish sauce and lime juice. Set aside until needed.
  3. To steam the tortilla: Scatter the tortilla on a plate and steam inside a steamer until hot. Turn off the heat and keep the tortilla warm and moist inside the steamer until needed.
  4. To make the Chả cá pan-fried fish: Rinse/clean the fish-fillet under water, then dab/dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel (this is especially important if the fish was previously frozen and may release a lot of water). Cut the fish-fillet into 1″ (2.5 cm) squares, then mix with fish sauce, grated ginger, ground turmeric and ground white pepper (you can add 1 tsp of vegetable oil to loosen it up). Let marinate for 30 min to 1 hour (meanwhile you can make the salsa and steam the tortilla).
  5. Heat up a non-stick skillet over high heat with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Scatter the marinated fish over the skillet then do not move them. Wait until the bottom is nicely browned/caramelized in peace, then you gently turn them over with a fork. Once both sides are browned and caramelized, the fish should’ve been cooked through. Add the chopped dill and scallion, and grated garlic. Mix and cook for 1 min more, then turn off the heat.
  6. On top of 2 layers of flour tortilla (you can use 1 layer if you prefer), lay a bed of herb salsa then 3 ~ 4 pieces of pan-fried fish. Squeeze the orange chili sambal on top and serve with a few wedges of lime.