The first thing on the menu of a Highway 4 restaurant in Hanoi are the Catfish Spring Rolls. So simple, yet so good. I haven’t tried to recreate that dish, but be inspired by it.
The Highway 4 group of restaurants is quite an institution in Hanoi. They opened a restaurant in Saigon, but it unfortunately didn’t survive. Hanoi and Saigon and different. As a guest in Vietnam, and a resident of Saigon, I have to say visiting a Highway 4 restaurant needs to be on every Hanoi visit itinerary. In addition to the Catfish Spring Rolls, try the Crickets roasted w/Lemon Leaves & Pork Fat. Really delicious. And do a Sơn Tinh rice spirit tasting. I prefer the “Adventurous Flavours” version.
Highway 4 uses a wasabi soy sauce to accompany their Catfish Spring Rolls. I decided on something a little more complex. The “bite”, rather than coming from wasabi, comes from yuzu kosho, another Japanese ingredient.
Highway 4 doesn’t use edible flowers! I had some on the day and they worked well under the transparent rice paper. Entirely optional. The fresh dill however, is critical.
Highway 4 have produced their own video of how Catfish Spring Rolls are made. It is entertaining…
Fish and dill spring rolls
- 500 g white fish fillets basa or sea bass
- 25 rice paper sheets
- fresh dill
- Kewpie mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/4 cup cornflour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- edible flowers optional
- vegetable oil for shallow frying
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 piece ginger a thumb sized piece. About 40 g
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp yuzu kosho
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Chop some of the dill so that you have about one Tbsp chopped dill.
- Separate the rest of the dill into sprigs for laying into each spring roll.
- Cut the fish into approx. 1.5cm square by 8cm long pieces.
- In a large bowl, add the fish pieces, chilli flakes, and chopped dill and toss until the fish is well coated.
- Add the cornflour and toss again until well coated.
- Finally add the flour and toss once again.
- Lay the fish pieces on a tray and refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Heat the oil in a pan and fry fish on all sides until golden.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Cut the rice paper to a size of about 10cm x 15cm. If they are very dry and brittle, wipe them with a moist towel. Not too moist as we don’t want them to get soggy.
- Lay a piece of fish about 15mm from the short edge of a piece of rice paper.
- If using edible flowers, put several face down next to the fish.
- Lay some dill sprigs next to the fish, on top of the flowers (if using).
- Roll up and seal with a line of mayo.
- Peel the ginger and garlic.
- Process the ginger and garlic in a food processor until “minced” – should not be a pulp but still a little chunky.
- Combine the minced ginger, garlic, yuzu kosho, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a shaker and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator for at least an hour for the flavours to meld.
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds onto the dipping sauce before serving.