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Monday, August 31, 2009

Ca Hap Gung Hanh (Vietnamese Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions)

Ca Hap Gung Hanh (Vietnamese Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions) 1

I'm not much for fussing with fish dishes. In my family, we either fried fish and served it with Nuoc Mam Cham (Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce) or steamed it with ginger and scallions.

I'd eat a lot more fish if it weren't always such a pain to gut and scale. Unfortunately, or is it fortunately, my daddy is an avid fisherman and he keeps me well supplied with perch, catfish, and sturgeon. *Sigh.* I can't avoid gutting and scaling fish forever. So when Yasmeen of Health Nut, host of last month's Weekend Wokking cheese roundup, announced GINGER as this month's secret ingredient challenge, I figured this simple preparation was easy enough to do.

Ca Hap Gung Hanh (Vietnamese Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions) 2

Ca Hap Gung Hanh (Vietnamese Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions)

For a 2-lb fish, you'll need:

2 scallions, sliced
2-inch knob of ginger, julienned
About 1 tblsp soy sauce
About 2 tsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1 tsp sesame oil
About 1/2 tsp salt
About 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

First the hard part -- gutting and scaling the fish. Ugh!

Then place the fish on a plate that's raised enough at the edges to hold excess liquid. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Drizzle 1 tblsp soy sauce, 2 tsp fish sauce, and 1 tsp sesame oil.

Julienne 2 scallions and a 2-inch knob of ginger. Sprinkle on top.

Depending on size, steam the fish for about 25 minutes or until the fish is fully cooked. The meat should no longer be translucent.

Serve with rice or wrap with rice paper and herbs.

Ca Hap Gung Hanh (Vietnamese Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions) 3

Simple and healthy.


Who made my recipe for ca hap gung hanh?
Huy of Tastefully Done used a fish fillet instead of a whole fish and said, "The delicate combination of soy sauce and fish sauce, salty and sweet, combined with the oniony flavor of the scallions and spicy ginger makes such a subtly complex steaming liquid that is light but packs a whole lot of flavor."
Lan of Angry Asian Creations added shiitake mushrooms and said, "...next time i make this, i'll keep the heads. scary but i think it makes for better presentation."

I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient. This month's secret ingredient is GINGER. The host for September is MomGateway. Please check her blog for 8 recipes for the ginger roundup.

If you'd like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month. If you've participated in the past and would like to host, please email me.


My other ginger recipes:
Baechu Kimchi (Korean Pickled Napa Cabbage)
Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese Hue-Style Beef Noodle Soup)
Chai Black Tea
Chicken Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
Chocolate Ginger Cookies
Cua Rang Muoi Tieu, Me, Gung, Hanh, Toi (Vietnamese Salt and Pepper Crab with Tamarind, Ginger, Scallions, and Garlic)
Ga Nuong Xa (Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass)
Gaeng Khiaw Waan (Thai Green Curry with Thai Eggplants)
Gaennip Kimchi (Korean Pickled Sesame Leaves)
Ggakdugi Kimchi (Korean Pickled Daikon Radish)
Mieng Kham (Thai Leaf-Wrapped Snack)
Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
Oc Buou Luoc Xa voi Mam Gung (Vietnamese Boiled Apple Snails in Lemongrass with Ginger Fish Sauce)
Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)
Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bamboo Shoots
Scallops Marinated with Ginger and Orange Juice on a Bed of Pea Shoots
Slightly Spiced (Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg) Molasses Cookies
Suon Kho Xa Gung Toi Ot (Vietnamese Braised Pork Chops with Lemongrass, Ginger, Garlic, and Chili)
Thai Red Curry with Roast Duck, Bamboo Shoots, Eggplant, and Pumpkin

1 year ago today, pandan mini cupcakes with coconut flakes, Hainanese chicken rice mix, belacan chicken wings, Thai green curry mix, and rendang instant mix.
2 years ago today, roll your own pork patty rolls at Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa - Alhambra.


  1. That fish looks scary (eyes) but delicious!

  2. i adore this dish! my dad adds in mushroom. i've been wanting to make this for some time. will any white fish do?

    i saw some red snapper at the market recently that looked promising. i'm a pansy tho, i'll have the fishmonger clean and gut for me.

  3. One of my favorite ways to eat fish -- the flesh stays tender and moist and that soy and ginger combo can't be beat. Lovely photos, WC -- are you armed with a new camera or a new technique?

  4. One of my fave ways to eat fish - yum. Although - I sing this song a lot - the fish in the UK is mostly pretty crap, even though it's an island. What's with that?

    I, like Angry Asian, would get the fishmonger to gut it or ... my partner. He once triumphantly brought home some lovely sea bass from a local fisherman but when I discovered it was whole - scales and guts - I got rather grumpy. He cleaned it in our bathroom (we were living in the flat at the time), after which I then deigned to cook it. Who knew I was such a princess?

  5. Tea Time,
    Haha. Yeah, some people don't like their food looking back at them. I used to love eating fish eyeballs when I was a kid so even that would be delicious to me. :P

    Ooh, shiitake mushrooms would be awesome too. Any white fish should work. Snapper would be lovely. My dad gave me the fish, so I either gut it or my mom does it for me and sends it down. I'd rather save her that extra work.

    New camera. I wanted to be just like you. :) Got an XTi in great condition off Craig's List. I'm still learning how to use it though.

    My cousin's Aussie auntie says the beef is bad too so she doesn't eat it in the UK either. Alas, I have no one else to gut my fish for me. See my comment to Lan about not making my momma do all my work.

  6. Hi WC,
    Love the dish, although this fish looks like it could eat me if it were still alive, but I guess that's what adds the cutting edge to this delicious recipe.Thanks and Cheers

  7. This is one of my most favorite thing to eat when at home. The sweetness of the fish sauce and the spiciness of the ginger/scallion is the best combination. Great post!

    Do you think the recipe can be done with filets instead of a whole fish (like cod or bass)? I have a steamer for my little rice cooker and would love to attempt to make this sometime.

  8. I can not even tell you how many fish I had to clean and sometimes gut when I worked at a restaurant. The scaling part was the worst because the scales just fly everywhere and you find them stuck to the bottom of your chin or on your face or arms. Positively not attractive.

    I like steamed fish with ginger (and lemongrass) as well. It seriously has to be the easiest thing in the world IF your fish is already cleaned and gutted.

  9. 3 pounds of fish? That is large :). I like steamed fish this way too but have not tried it with fish sauce before.

    I can now see why the photos look so different now! I thought it was different when I saw some of the posts with more blur- but it did not look like any P&S camera blur. Still wasn't sure though, until now :). Hope you get even more photos to show us soon!

  10. Houston Wok,
    Haha. The teeth are a bit intimidating.

    Sure, fillets should work just fine. If you layer foil over the holes in your steamer or the fillet is small enough to fit on a plate inside the steamer, you can probably cook the fish at the same time you make the rice.

    Ugh! Hate the gutting and scaling part. I'd find fish scales all over my arms and hair sometimes too.

    Ah, maybe it was only 2 lbs. I really just guesstimate when I post recipes. ;) I've still got so many photos taken with the old camera so it'll be a bit of both for a while.

  11. WC,
    Me too with the recipes :). It is hard to write down and follow the exact amount of ingredients needed in a particular dish! Now I use a 1/8 cup measure for the sake of being more "exact". Still eyeball though!

  12. i too love this dish. My mom heat oil to a creaming hot and throws in scallions to fry them and infuse the oil. she then pours that on top of the fish.

    SO GOOD. I highly recommend it.

  13. Hi WC! Just wanted to let you know that I blogged this recipe yesterday. Was delicious! Thanks for posting such great Vietnamese dishes.

  14. Just wanted to know...the meat should no longer be opaque or should no longer be translucent? Thanks! And it looks delicious!

  15. ETE,
    I've had to at least write down my eyeballed proportions so that the recipe somewhat comes out the way I made it. I used to wonder how my mom could cook without measuring when I was a kid, but now I do the same thing. Just learn by doing!

    I do the mo hanh or hanh pho on baked fish. Just trying the keep the steaming healthy. :)

    Great! You did an awesome job.

    The meat should not be translucent is when it's done. Thanks for pointing it out. I need to edit to fix that.


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