Goi ca trich is prepared and served in Vietnam in different ways, often accompanied with a peanut sauce which varies in ingredients and preparation to personal taste. A comprehensive serving is with vegetables, rice noodles, rice vermicelli, dipping sauce and fresh grated coconut. Delicious. At home we eat Goi ca trich in the simplest way, more as a snack for the appetite. Filleting costs almost more time than eat it.

For this dish, my mother again has designed a delicious special sauce. For each Vietnamese specialty there is a separate dipping sauce that gives the dishes their character. This fish salad has a tamarind based sauce with roasted peanuts, very different from the bananas broth sauce from fish salad Goi ca. My mother keeps the fish salad preferably simple, the tamarind peanut sauce does the rest.

I make this fish salad each time in a different way. It just depends on how much time and ingredients I have available. The tiny sardines I find less fishy than large sardines. My mother has always been a bit wary of raw meat, she will always make sure the fish is well cooked in vinegar. I love raw meat (beef and fish) very much, the two-step cooking process with vinegar is not necessary and lemon juice is also fine to use. You can determine the rawness of the fish yourself.

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo of fresh sardines (small ones)
  • 3-5 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice (depending on preference rawness and amount of acid to taste)
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • fresh herbs to taste: mint, coriander, Thai basil, Vietnamese coriander / Rau ram, etc. Any additional vegetable, like lettuce and cucumber
  • roasted peanuts, chopped
  • dried fried onions (optional)
  • rice paper
  • prawn crackers, cassava crackers or Vietnamese sesame rice crackers / Banh trang me (optional)

Tamarinde peanut sauce

  • 100 ml water
  • 75 g of sugar
  • 50 g tamarind (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (to taste)
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli or red chili, sliced
  • roasted peanuts, chopped

Preparation

  1. Fillet the sardines by removing the head and spine, do not remove the skin. Carefully clean the sardines and let drain well.
  2. Place the sardines in a large bowl and add about 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir well and leave the sardines approximately 10 to 20 minutes in the vinegar. Remove the moisture. If you want less rawness, squeeze in a colander the moisture out of the sardines. Place the sardines back in the cleaned bowl and season with 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinegar and mix well. Let stand for a few minutes again. Remove the liquid.
  3. Cut the chili into large pieces and grind it roughly with the garlic clove. Add the chili with the garlic and onions to the fish and stir.
  4. For the dipping sauce, dissolve the sugar and the tamarind in the water. Press the tamarind pulp from the seeds with a fork or chopsticks. Remove the seeds and any fibers from the pan and let cool. Add bird’s-eye chili or red chili and fish sauce. Garnish generously with roasted peanuts and save some for the fish salad.
  5. Chop the herbs coarsely and spread over the fish. Garnish with roasted peanuts and dried fried onions.
  6. Roll on a rice paper some fish salad, with extra fresh herbs, and dip in the tamarind peanut sauce. If you want to use crackers you can put some fish salad on a piece of crackers, or crumle some crackers on the fish salad.