Hotpot fish with coconut water to welcome Tet in the West

HAU GIANG – Waterfall fish is chewy, soaked in the sweet taste of fresh coconut water, fragrant with cilantro, eaten with thinly sliced ​​bitter melon.

With the advantages of interlaced rivers and canals, people in the West take advantage of the water to raise aquatic species of high economic value, in which Hau Giang beaded fish is one of the most attractive specialties in the province. This fish has sweet, fragrant, and chewy meat, suitable for processing many delicious dishes for Tet such as steamed cabbage rolls, sour hot pot cooking, stir-fried vegetables, noodles, soy sauce, tomato sauce… Cha fish Preliminarily processed and sold in the area of ​​Vi Thanh market, Nang Mau market, the price is from 150,000 VND/kg.

Having delicious specialties, Hau Giang people often use hot pot rolls to treat guests during Tet, in which fish cakes cooked with bitter melon are impressed with customers. The dish has simple ingredients and methods but is nostalgic for the taste. The flesh of the fish is soft, rich, the broth is sweet, the bitter melon is lightly fragrant and the smell of cilantro is strong. Westerners also believe that eating bitter melon at the beginning of the year will help dispel the hardships of the old year and welcome a good and happy new year.

1 kg of fish cake can be processed into 2 hot pot dishes and fried rolls with rice paper and raw vegetables.  Photo: Huynh Nhi
1 kg of fish cake can be processed into 2 hot pot dishes and fried rolls with rice paper and raw vegetables. Photo: Huynh Nhi

When purchased, the fish has already been grated and has a light pink color, the cook adds a little salt, sugar, seasoning, ground pepper and minced garlic to make the dish fragrant, reducing the fishy taste. Hand rub the meat evenly to infuse the seasoning.

Watermelon fish meat has the characteristic that the longer it takes to cook, the tougher the meat will be, the more delicious it will be, and will not be frizzy when dipping in the hot pot. People in the West often mold the patties into bite-sized pieces, shaped like canamon, can add a little cooking oil so that the rolls do not stick to their hands, making it easier to shape. After the dough is made, it is not steamed but left fresh, presented with bitter melon, neatly stalked, eaten anywhere, put away and cooked until there.

Bitter melon is preliminarily washed, then grated or thinly sliced, marinated in ice to keep its crispness fresh and beautiful green color. Hot pot only uses hard coconut to pry (coconut is not too old, too young, copra begins to harden) to squeeze out the sweet juice, but it has a rich taste, if you choose young fruit, the broth will taste sour and light, the hot pot loses its taste, no round taste.

Coconut water can be left whole or mixed with filtered water to suit the user’s taste, add cilantro, fried garlic. Wait for the hot pot to boil, diners for fish cakes, bitter melon, cover tightly. When cooked, it turns white, floats evenly on the hot pot and can be used.

Simple and sweet hotpot dish, anti-boring on Tet holiday.  Photo: Huynh Nhi
Simple and sweet hot pot dish, anti-boredom on Tet holiday. Photo: Huynh Nhi

The dish is not too picky, does not have a lot of fatty meat and has a sweet taste, which can be used in daily meals or receptions for guests. Waiting for the hot pot to boil, diners pick up a piece of vermicelli, pour hot broth, inhale the sweet aroma of cilantro and add spring rolls and bitter melon to the cup and then slowly enjoy. Soft noodles mixed in hot broth, sweet taste, eaten with chewy fish balls, alternating with the mild spicy taste of pepper. If you like, you can add a cup of salty fish sauce, sprinkle with hot chili peppers, and dip the sweet and chewy fish into a round dish for the New Year’s rice tray.