Crispy Rice Vermicelli with Seafood in Coconut Sauce
Here we cook a mix of seafood in a traditional Filipino coconut sauce and pour it over crispy, deep-fried rice vermicelli. Some of the noodles soften and some remain crispy, giving the dish a full range of textures.
Use a wok for frying the noodles; they triple in size quite quickly when immersed in hot oil.
Vary the mix of seafood according to taste and availability.
The sauce can be made well ahead of time, as can the frying of the noodles, so the final cooking time is usually quite short.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturecreamy, crisp, garlicky, herby, savory, spiced
- 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable oil
- ¼ cup (50 ml) chopped shallots or onions
- 2 tsp (10 ml) minced garlic
- 1 to 3 tsp (5 to 15 ml) finely chopped chilies
- 2 tsp (10 ml) minced ginger root
- 3 anchovies, chopped, or 1 tbsp (15 ml) fish sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 stalk lemongrass (optional), cut into short lengths
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) finely chopped celery
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped parsley
- ½ tsp ( 2 ml) black pepper
- 1 can (14 oz [400 ml]) coconut milk
- ¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
- 1 package (16 oz [450 g]) thin rice vermicelli
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 green onions, cut into short lengths
- 2 to 4 finger chilies, cut into short lengths
- 24 mussels or small clams
- 12 to 18 shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 8 oz (250 g) fish fillet, cut into 4 pieces
In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat; cook shallots until golden. Stir in garlic; cook until golden. Stir in chilies and ginger; cook until softened. Stir in anchovies (if using), bay leaves, lemon grass (if using), celery, parsley and pepper; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in coconut milk, salt and fish sauce (if using); bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 2 minutes. Set aside.
Divide rice vermicelli into 4 equal portions. In a deep saucepan or wok, heat remaining oil to 350° F (180° C); cook 1 portion of noodles until they swell and turn crispy, turning once. With a strainer, remove noodles from wok; drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining noodles. Remove all but 2 tbsp (25 ml) of the oil from the wok; cook garlic until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towel.
Bring coconut sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in green onion, chilies, mussels, shrimp and fish; cover and cook until shellfish opens and fish is cooked through. Put one portion of noodles on each of 4 plates; spoon seafood coconut sauce over top. Serve garnished with fried garlic.
1997 Andrew Chase