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The Mekong delta in tidal seasons abounds with fish. Redundant fish is made into fermented fish.

In the afternoon, have a swim to collect sesbania sesban bunches and water lilies, then head to the canal to pluck some yellow sawah lettuce, Asterales, water mimosas, or use a pole to collect hummingbird flowers and yellow gourd flower on the scaffold to add to the fermented fish  hotpot.

Fermented fish hotpot is made simple with fermented tricogaster fish or fermented kryptopterus fish sauce and stir fried pork belly with chili and lemongrass. Seasonally, henicorhymchus fish or snakehead fish is added, or even in good catches, perches and eels can also be served. Place the stockpot on the stove,  add some sliced aubergine and bitter melon.

During rainy season, gather around the fire with a hotpot, dip some bitter hummingbird flowers, buttery water mimosas and sweet sesbania sesbans, and taste the delectable pork with lemongrass. One may embrace the entire rural landscape in this delicacy of the bountiful Southern delta.

Fermented Fish Hotpot

Ingredients

  • 200g fermented henicorhynchus fish or ca sheatfish paste
  • 200g fermented trichogaster fish
  • 500g pork bones
  • 500g side pork
  • 500g snakehead fish or shark catfish
  • 5 stalks of lemongrass
  • 20g acuminatum chili pepper
  • 1 autumn crocus root (optional)
  • 200g eggplants
  • 200g bitter melon
  • 100g Egyptian river hemp flowers
  • 100g vegetable hummingbird flowers
  • 200g sensitive neptunia vegetable
  • 100g yellow sawah lettuce
  • 200g water lily flower buds
  • 100g limnophila aromatica
  • 200g pumpkin flower buds
  • 100g shallots
  • Water from 1 coconut
  • Spices: sugar, monosodium glutamate (optional)

Instruction

Preparation

  1. Finely chop 3 stalks of lemongrass, crush the remaining 2 stalks and cut into small pieces.
  2. Peel the shallots, mince half, and crush the remaining half.
  3. Wash the autumn crocus root thoroughly and crush.
  4. For eggplant and bitter melon, cut into half, discard the seeds, core and cut into 2cm pieces. If you prefer wild bitter melon, no need to cut into half.
  5. Wash all other vegetables and flowers.
  6. Rinse the pork bones in hot water.
  7. Cut side pork into thin slides.
  8. Wash and cut shark catfish or snakehead fillets into 3cm slices.

Cooking

  1. Put 1.5 litres of water and coconut water into a pot, add pork bones, crushed shallots and lemongrass, cook down to 1 litre of broth.
  2. Boil 1 litre of water in another pot and cook with fermented fish paste. Filter to get fish broth. Pour fish broth into coconut/pork broth and cook it until you get 1.5 litre of mixed broth. Add autumn crocus root.
  3. Stir fry the minced shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and chili in a little cooking oil, then add side pork. Keep stir frying until the meat is firm. Add a teaspoon of sugar. Then add the stir-fried meat into broth pot, cook for 10 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, ½ teaspoon of MSG. Add fish, eggplant and bitter melon and cook.
  4. Serve as a hotpot with rice or vermicelli and vegetables
Note: The hotpot can also be served with shrimp, fish, eel, octopus if preferred.