Recipe courtesy of Luke Nguyen

Red Dzao Salmon Steam Boat: Lao Ca Hoi Dzao Do

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1 salmon filleted and sliced into 1-inch by 2-inch/3 cm by 5 cm pieces (bones and head reserved for stock)

15 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for 30 minutes

4 lemongrass stems, bruised

1 1/2-inch/4 cm knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

2 black cardamom

2 star anise

2 coriander roots

3 quarts/3 liters water

1/2 pineapple, sliced

2 tomatoes, diced

2 long red chiles, sliced

1 tablespoon sate sauce (see Cook's Note)

Juice of 2 limes

6 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon salt

4 tomatoes, cut into wedges

17 1/2 ounces/500 g silken tofu, sliced into cubes

2 pounds, 4 ounces/1 kg soft rice noodles

1 Chinese white cabbage, sliced

1 bunch watercress

1 bunch water spinach

1 bunch mustard greens


  1. In a stock pot, add reserved salmon bones and head, mushrooms, lemongrass, ginger, black cardamom, star anise, and coriander roots. Cover with 3 liters water and bring to the boil.
  2. Skim all impurities until clear. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 1 hour. 
  3. Now add pineapple, diced tomatoes, chile, sate sauce, lime juice, and season with fish sauce and 1 tablespoon salt and cook for a further 5 minutes on low. 
  4. Distribute all raw ingredients on separate platters and place it around the portable gas cooker in the middle of the dining table. Place the stock pot on top of the cooker and turn to medium heat. 
  5. Now everyone at the table chooses their own ingredients and cooks it to their liking.

Cook’s Note

Sate sauce can be found at specialty Asian markets.