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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chả Cá Tilapia (Tilapia Fish Patty)

The other day I craved for banh canh cha ca (Vietnamese fish patty udon soup). I decided to make my own fish paste instead of buying it from the store. So off I went to Sam's Club and got a pack of talapia fillet. Soon the talapia were thrown into a mixture of spices and whipped into a paste. The patties made their way into the frying pan and the wonderful aroma of anything fried and crunchy would soon beckon my daughters into the kitchen. 

I always like to use fish patties in Mi Quang (Yellow Noodle Soup), Bun Ca (Fish Noodle Soup) or Banh Canh. Especially for Banh Canh, I prefer to make my own udon. As a quick aside, the type of udons made depends on my craving. Sometimes I would make tapioca udon, other times rice udon or udon from a mixture of both rice and tapioca. Each one has a different texture that goes well with certain kind of meats such as seafood or fish. The recipe for udon will soon be posted. For now, let's go back to the Talapia Fish Patties which can be enjoyed as a separate dish or as a main ingredient in a bowl of udon.
RECIPE: Talapia Fish Patties
* * * 

2 pounds Tilapia Fillet
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 teaspoon Ground Pepper
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Tapioca Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 cup of Green Onion (white part only)
Preparing Fish Paste

Combine all the ingredients and transfer to a food processor and process just until a coarse paste forms. Remove fish paste form a food processor and place it in a large bowl. Rub hand with oil, knead fish paste for a couple of minutes. Store it in the frigde for about half an hour to allow the fish paste absorb the flavor. You can either steam or fry it. 

To steam it, pour the talapia paste in a baking mold or a baking pan and steam it for about 1/2 an hour. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium high just barely enough for the water to boil. Open the steamer cover a few times during the steaming process and blot dry the liquid that condense on the fish paste with a paper towel. About 5 minutes before the fish patties are done, brush the egg yolk on top of the fish patties. Close the steamer cover but leave it open just a little bit to dry off the egg yolk. 

To fry, make the fish paste in patties of any shape you like. Add a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and fry the fish patties at low heat until it turns golden brown. Transfer it to a cutting board and blot dry the oil with a paper towel. Cut the fish patties in any shape and size you prefer. 



  1. I am going to try this this weekend. Wish me luck :-)

  2. Please post your recipe your udon! Thanks!

  3. I will try to make the udon again this week. That means one of our dinners this week will be...Banh Canh Cua :-)

  4. Hello chi Loan - i enjoy searching the tutorials through your blog. Could you post the recipe how to make Rice Udon( banh canh) not banh canh bot loc. ? Thank you

  5. Can I use cod instead of talapia?

    1. I havent tried cod yet. Try it and let me know :-)

  6. Hi Loan, does the tilapia have to be fresh filet or can we use the frozen ones (defrosted)? Also, the baking powder , is it single acting or double acting?

    Thank you

    1. I always use the fresh talapia which I bought at Costco or Sams Club. I think frozen ones would be fine too. The baking powder is single acting.