Alex Thomopoulos' Vietnamese Whole Fish & Coconut Rice
Vietnamese Whole Fish Ingredients: • About 1 pound whole red snapper, cleaned and gutted OR fillet's
For Marinade: • 2 cloves garlic
• 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, cut in ¼" stalks • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce • 1 teaspoon sugar • 3 Tablespoons peanut oil • 2 thai chilies, sliced thinly
Wash fish and pat dry with paper towels. For the whole fish, make 2-3 ¼" cuts diagonally across the fish body.
Smash the stalks of the lemongrass. Reserve about a 1" stalk and chop finely or crush in mortar & pestle.
In bowl, combine garlic, fish sauce, sugar, oil, chili's, crushed lemongrass in both forms. Let diced chili infuse in marinade for about 5 minutes, then remove chilies and set aside for later use.
Pour marinade over fish. For the whole fish, place the smashed lemongrass stalks in the body cavity of the fish. This will give extra lemongrass flavor.
Let marinade for about 20 minutes.
Place fish on hot grill. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side for fillets, 10 minutes on each side for the whole fish, or until cooked to your liking. Cook time for whole snapper will also depend on the size of your fish.
Remove fish from grill and dress with the diced chili's.
Coconut Rice Ingredients: • 2 cups Thai jasmine-scented white rice (for brown coconut rice, see link below)
• 2 cups good-quality coconut milk • 1 ¾ cups water • 2 heaping Tbsp. dry shredded unsweetened coconut (baking type) • ½ tsp. salt • ½ tsp. coconut oil, OR vegetable oil • Sliced Green Onion for garnish
Rub oil over the bottom of a deep-sided pot. You will also need a tight-fitting lid.
Place rice, coconut milk, water, shredded coconut, and salt in the pot and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
Once the coconut-water has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low (just above minimum). Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. To check, pull rice aside with a fork. If most of the coconut milk-water is gone, go on to the next step.
Replace the lid and turn off the heat, but leave the covered pot on the burner to steam another 5-10 minutes, or until you're ready to eat. Tip: Your Coconut Rice will stay warm this way for up to 1 hour or more, great for when you're expecting company!
When ready to serve, remove the lid and fluff rice with a fork or chopsticks. Taste-test the rice for salt, adding a little more if needed.