The French introduced baguettes to Vietnam, however the Vietnamese created a large variety of delicious and creative fillings to go inside them. This fish cake baguette is one of my favourites as there are great contrasts of textures – from the crisp baguette to the bouncy fish cakes.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Level of difficulty: easy
1 tbsp fish sauce
500 g skinless, boneless Spanish mackerel fillets, cut into 1 cm cubes
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
¼ tsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying, plus extra for greasing
4 Vietnamese baguettes, split but not separated
4 spring onions (scallions)
4 coriander sprigs
To serve, soy sauce, sriracha sauce and sliced fresh red chilli
Place the fish sauce in a small bowl next to a large mortar and pestle. Using the mortar and pestle, begin to pound the fish into a paste, frequently dipping the pestle into the fish sauce to prevent the fish sticking to it. Alternatively, blend the fish in a food processor by pulsing the flesh and regularly scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the salt, pepper, sesame oil and garlic and continue to pound until you have used up all the fish sauce, combined all the ingredients together and the paste has become fine, smooth and quite elastic. You’re after a smooth purée.
Transfer the fish paste to a bowl, then use lightly oiled hands to form the mixture into 5 cm round patties, about 2 cm thick.
Pour 2–3 cm vegetable oil into a large non-stick frying pan and heat over medium heat. Cook the fish cakes in batches for about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden, then drain on paper towel.
Divide the fish cakes among the baguettes, then top with spring onion and coriander. Drizzle with soy sauce, sriracha sauce and scatter with sliced fresh chili.
Credit to Luke Nguyen Vietnam TV show on SBS