"The French introduced baguettes to Vietnam, however the Vietnamese created a large variety of delicious and creative fillings to go inside them. This fish cake baguette is one of my favourites as there are great contrasts of textures – from the crisp baguette to the bouncy fish cakes." Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's Street Food Asia
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 500 g skinless, boneless Spanish mackerel fillets, cut into 1 cm cubes
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- vegetable oil, for shallow-frying, plus extra for greasing
- 4 Vietnamese baguettes, split but not separated
- 4 spring onions (scallions)
- 4 coriander sprigs
- soy sauce, Sriracha sauce and sliced fresh red chilli, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the fish sauce in a small bowl next to a large mortar and pestle. Using the mortar and pestle, begin to pound the fish into a paste, frequently dipping the pestle into the fish sauce to prevent the fish sticking to it. Alternatively, blend the fish in a food processor by pulsing the flesh and regularly scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the salt, pepper, sesame oil and garlic, and continue to pound until you have used up all the fish sauce, combined all the ingredients together, and the paste has become fine, smooth and quite elastic. You’re after a smooth puree.
Transfer the fish paste to a bowl, then use lightly oiled hands to form the mixture into 5 cm round patties, about 2 cm thick.
Pour 2–3 cm vegetable oil into a large non-stick frying pan and heat over medium heat. Cook the fish cakes in batches for about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden, then drain on paper towel.
Divide the fish cakes among the baguettes, then top with spring onion and coriander. Drizzle with soy sauce and Sriracha sauce, and scatter with sliced fresh chilli.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok.