A Cult Classic From Hanoi: Cha Ca La Vong

There is a restaurant in Hanoi that has a one-dish menu. Imagine that, a restaurant that serves just one thing! The restaurant is called Cha Ca La Vong 14 Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem; 84-4-3825-3929, which also happens to be the name of the classic fish dish that they serve. This tiny joint is still run by the descendants of the dish’s creator, and has been cooking Cha Ca La Vong for over 100 years.
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tur·mer·ic/ˈtərmərik/

Noun:
  1. A bright yellow aromatic powder obtained from the rhizome of a plant of the ginger family, used for flavoring and coloring in Asian…
  2. The Asian plant (Curcuma longa) from which this rhizome is obtained.

To me, turmeric is defined as:

Noun:
  1. A vibrant curry enhancer.
  2. An anti-inflammatory attacker!

As of late, I’ve been on the prowl for natural anti-inflammatory remedies and found that turmeric is a strong contender.  It’s benefits are slowly beginning to make their presence stateside but in the East the therapeutic prowess of turmeric is ancient news.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has an aromatic taste, hinting of orange and ginger with a bitter, peppery finish.  The active ingredient is curcumin, responsible for turmeric’s vibrant orangish, yellow hue as well as it’s asset as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and an antiseptic.

Turmeric can help maintain health and wellness in pill form, as a powder or a root.  I like to add turmeric powder to curries and lentils, mustards and relishes.  To increase my daily intake I use turmeric to make a tea.  It’s super simple to make and tastes great hot or cold.
I genuinely enjoy the flavor of turmeric tea and would describe it as flowery, pungent and spicy.  I typically make large batches and store it in the fridge until ready for consumption.  For those who aren’t so keen on pungent spice, I would suggest adding honey for a hint of sweet.

I purchase actual turmeric root or fingers from my local Indian store, and grate it, but powdered form works just as well.  I’ve included two recipes for turmeric tea below.

The first, is the recipe I initially used by Dr. Weil (click the link for more information on the benefits of turmeric)

Turmeric Tea

  • Bring four cups of water to a boil.
  • Add one teaspoon of ground/grated turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup, add honey and/or lemon to taste.

Some people like to add a teaspoon of ginger along with the turmeric. While ground versions are more convenient, it’s worthwhile to experiment with freshly grated turmeric for a more vibrant flavor. These distinctive, deep-orange roots are increasingly available in American grocery and natural food stores.

The second is for a creamier version involving coconut or almond milk from Mark’s Daily Apple

Servings: 1 cup of tea

Ingredients:

ingredients 27

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2-inch wide round slice of ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon honey or other sweetener
  • Optional additions: a small pat of butter, cinnamon, cardamom

Instructions:

Gently warm the almond or coconut milk on the stove.

In a mug, combine the remaining ingredients.

Drizzle a teaspoon of the warmed milk into the mug and mix until the liquid is smooth with no lumps. Add the rest of the milk and mix well. You can leave the pieces of ginger in the tea, or strain it out before drinking.