December 29, 2009

Fish Noodle Soup | Bun Cha Ca

When I was younger and living in Louisiana, I remember watching my mom make fried fish patties (Cha Ca) quite often. I'd eat them right as she finished frying them. Fresh, hot, and good! Our family moved to Kansas after Hurricane Andrew hit and during the 3 or 4 years that we lived there, I can't recall mom ever making this. We moved to Michigan and it is back on the menu - YES!

Mom usually makes the fish paste by combining the meat of King fish, pork belly, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, salt, pepper flakes, black pepper, and baking powder in a food processor. The fish paste is formed into patties and fried in hot oil to make the fried fish patties or formed into balls and not fried to make fish balls (Ca Vien). Both types can be used for Sour Fish Soup (Canh Chua Cha Ca) or Fish Noodle Soup (Bun Cha Ca).

You can buy the fish paste labeled 'Cha Ca' in plastic tubs in the frozen food section of your local asian market. I've also used the already fried and frozen patties a couple times - they taste pretty good. Eventually, I will get around to making my own batch of fish paste. For now, I will use Mom's since she makes a lot, packs them into zip lock bags, and freezes them for whenever we want to use them. The latest batch was made from the King fish I brought back from my trip to Florida in late September.

Making Fish Noodle Soup:

Sour bamboo shoot, cut sour mustard, sliced shallots, minced garlic, and sliced fresh pineapple.

The fried fish patties flavored with fish sauce, pepper flakes, and salt.

Start off by infusing the oil, shallots, and garlic.

Add water, bamboo, sour mustard, and pineapple. Bring to boil.

Add the fish patties and bring back to a boil. Cook for 5 more minutes and its ready!

Serve in a large bowl with rice vermicelli, a handful of raw lettuce mix, and sliced scallions. Condiments: Sriracha and Light Soy Sauce


  1. Happy New Year! Don't forget about me when you become a millionaire okay? haha