Thursday, September 25, 2008

Grandma's Fish Cake Rolls (Cha Ca)


As long as I can remember, my mom has made these fish cake rolls for us for many, many dinners. I recently found out that this dish was passed on to her by my paternal grandmother, who passed away half a decade ago. I learned to make this from my mom while I was away at college, but since I found out where this dish originated, I can't help but think of my grandma everytime I prepare it.

A note about fish paste (cha ca). You can certainly make it from scratch by grinding up fish by yourself, but since I'm too lazy and tired, I find it rather easy to buy either fresh fish paste or frozen from my local 99 Ranch or another asian supermarket. If you buy the frozen tubs, you will need to defrost it under water before you make it, or let it defrost overnight in the fridge. I've tried defrosting it in the microwave but it ends up cooking it and it becomes clumpy. There are also red fish paste and white fish paste. I've always used the white kind for the rolls.

Fish paste.

Does anyone else cook these rolls or have seen them made anywhere? There are fish cakes, of course (and I will write about these in a future post), but I haven't seen any of these fish rolls outside of my family circle.


Wandering Chopsticks said...

My mom always made her cha ca into a big flat patty. She makes her own by scraping the fish too.

Anonymous said...

you juz transported me back to Home! my mom, granny, and aunts used to do these rolls for our lunches or dinners. It's been awhile since i have it..hmmm...time to ask mom to do it! ;)

btw, am chinese writing from malaysia.

shavedicesundays said...

wanderingchopsticks, my mom does that too. She makes the patty more often then these rolls.

joycey: Welcome, welcome! Tastespotting and Foodgawker does wonders for a new blogger. Wow, so is this dish more chinese or vietnamese or both, because my grandmother is actually Chinese but lived in Vietnam. Gotta ask my mom this weekend.

Jen Jen said...

When will i get to eat some? Are you sharing some for me the next time you make it?

shavedicesundays said...

jen jen, you're just a tad late, but next time I'll be sure to call you.