Kambu Asparagus

  • 500 gm (~1 lb) cod (or other firm white fish)
  • 1 tbsp Light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dry sherry, or Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tsp Fresh ginger (scrape off the skin and cut the root into fine match-sticks)
  • 1/2 cup Scallions (sliced)
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 4 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 500 gm (~1 lb) Fresh Asparagus spears. (Choose the thinnest available).
  • 250 ml (~1 cup) Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam)

  1. Place cod (or other fish), light soy sauce, dry sherry, fresh ginger, sliced scallions, egg whites and cornstarch in a blender or food processor and reduce to a paste (it should have the consistency of cookie dough) 
  2. If it is not dry enough, add more cornstarch
  3. Heat the oil, to medium, in a wok or other deep, heavy vessel
  4. Take **3 or **4 asparagus spears in one hand and about 2 or 3 tablespoons of fish paste in the other
  5. Wrap the fish paste around the middle of the sheave to bind it together
  6. Drop it into the hot oil and deep fry for about 3 minutes, or until the fish paste is set and just beginning to brown. (Thick spears may take more cooking and you need to test this)
  7. Remove and drain
  8. Repeat cooking three or four sheaves at a time
  9. Drizzle some of the Nuoc Mam over the asparagus or allow the diners to add their own.
** The number of spears used in the sheave is really dependent on the thickness of the asparagus spears. Thicker spears will take longer to cook. The risk being the fish paste will over-cook. The easiest way to control this if it happens is to remove some of the asparagus spears from the sheave. It really does need to be optimised for the spears you're using. Asian spears typically have a thickness of 3 to 4 mm (that is less than a quarter of an inch), typical European asparagus has a thickness of about a centimeter which is about a half an inch. This means that if you compare the two spears for cooking times, the thinner one will cook two to four times faster than the thicker. It just needs to be played by experimentation. Par-boiling the asparagus may be an answer also.