Friday, November 5, 2010

Vietnamese Ahi Carpaccio--Ca Tai Chanh

While I am a fan of traditional carpaccio made with raw beef, and I also enjoyed bo tai chanh on several occasions while living in Saigon, Tjing doesn't like cooked beef and raw beef makes her shudder.  So I decided to eliminate the beef and use ahi for this dish.  The combination of the ahi with the herbs is delicious and makes an impressive starter.

The one requirement for this dish is sashimi grade ahi.  Sunh Fish in the Asian Food Market is where many of the local sushi restaurants in Sacramento get their fish.  The quality of the fish is excellent and they are just as responsive to individual customers as they are to their restaurant buyers.  They are also one of the few places I know of in Sacramento that you can find fresh squid.

The key to this dish is pristine ingredients.  Assemble the components and let diners appreciate the simple clean tastes of the herbs with the raw ahi.  

I served this with sesame cracker (banh trang me), but I could also see serving it with banh hoi brushed with scallion oil.  I had to take the pictures at night, so they are less than ideal.

Vietnamese Ahi Carpaccio--Ca Tai Chanh

1/2 pound sashimi grade ahi tuna

2 TBS lime juice
2 tsp fish sauce
scant teaspoon of sugar

1 shallot, sliced lengthwise with a mandoline to get paper thin slices
1/4 cup mixed herbs, finely sliced or chopped,
1 TBS young ginger, finely minced and briefly fried

Slice tuna into pieces 1/4 inch thick.  Place one slice between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Gently pound with a meat pounder (or rolling pin, wine bottle, or sauce pan) to about an 1/8 inch of thickness.  You don't want these to be paper thin.
Place fish in saucer with lime juice mixture for just a few minutes.  With good quality ahi there's no need for the lime juice to "cook" the fish.  

Place the slices on a plate,  and top with sliced shallots, herbs, and minced young ginger.  Serve with sesame crackers, banh hoi, or whatever you like.

I am submitting this to Delicious Vietnam #7, a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese food.  Founded by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey, and Kim and Hong of Ravenous Couple, Delicious Vietnam welcomes submissions from bloggers around the world.  To learn how you might participate, click here.  The roundup for Delicious Vietnam #7 will be hosted by Nina, of the blog MissAdventureAtHome.  The submission deadline is November 14, 2010.  For full details on how to participate, please go to the Delicious Vietnam page at Ravenous Couple's blog.  Check out the roundup to find the details on who will be hosting Delicious Vietnam #8.


  1. Yowsas! What a great combination of flavors. The fish looks pristine!

  2. Your pictures are great! What was that you stated about taking the pictures at night and having them less than ideal? I love the asian nicknacks adding decoration to your place setting. It all looks so inviting and delicious!

  3. Although I did like the taste and presentation of this, I just felt the photos didn't do it justice. The decorations are Vietnamese water puppet replicas that we picked up while in Hanoi.

  4. Your picture/recipe made me instantly hungry!


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