Known as Canh Chua Ngọt in Vietnamese, this recipe is an easy-to-prepare restaurant quality dish, which serves 4-6 as part of a shared meal.

This recipe is courtesy of Luke Nguyen, chef, TV host, and co-owner of acclaimed Sydney restaurant Red Lantern (www.redlantern.com.au), which he runs with sister Pauline Nguyen and chef Mark Jensen.


Ingredients (serves 5)

  • 6 Asian celery stalks
  • 6 spring onions (scallions), white part only, chopped
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) barramundi fillets, skin on, pin-boned
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 litres (70 fl oz/ 8 cups) fish stock
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / ½ cup) fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 large handful bean sprouts
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Method

  1. Pick the leaves from the celery stalks, reserving the leaves for later use, then roughly chop the stalks. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the celery stalks, spring onion and chilli into a paste. Set aside.
  2. Slice the barramundi widthways into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, then add the oil and pan-fry the barramundi fillets, skin side down, for 3 minutes, or until the skin is crisp. Remove and set aside in a warm place.
  3. Put the celery paste, fish stock, fish sauce and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and then gently add the fish fillets, placing them skin side up. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes and celery leaves.
  4. Divide the fish evenly among serving bowls, placing the fish in the bowl skin side up, then pour the soup over the top. Garnish with the bean sprouts and a wedge of lime.

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