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Coconut rice and roasted shrimp with coconut milk

21/08/2019 18:00 |

Mother nature has bestowed Ben Tre a land rich with fertile soil, green fields and orchards, particularly the immense coconut gardens. The coconut tree not only goes into poetry, but is also an essential element in Ben Tre cuisine culture. Many famous delicacies in Ben Tre are made with coconut as the main and indispensable ingredient. Among such delicacies are the coconut rice, or Ben Tre coconut rice, that is rice cooked inside a coconut, and the roasted shrimp with coconut milk.

Ben Tre coconut rice is prepared with glutinous rice, which has to be washed carefully in clean water and then put into a fresh coconut. The coconut water (water inside the coconut shell) must be enough to fill up the rice. To cook the stuffs, just cover the coconut lid, put the coconut into a big boiling pot with some water and steam it over stable heat. For Ben Tre coconut rice, dwarf Siamese coconut is the ingredient of choice, and it is best to choose a fresh mature one.


Coconut rice and roasted shrimp with coconut milk (Source: Ben Tre Tourism Promotion Information Center)

The most difficult thing to do is to balance between the coconut water and the rice. More water than rice, the coconut rice will be too juicy to eat. By contrast, less coconut water than rice, it will be too dry and hard. It is best to serve coconut rice right after cooking, when it is still hot. Left long before eating, the white rice will turn into an ivory colour and lose its taste.

For coconut rice, the best advice is to eat it along with roasted shrimp with coconut milk. To prepare for this dish, we should choose small and white shrimps that grow in fresh water. After cleaned up, shrimps should be marinated with sugar, salt and monosodium glutamate and left for a while.

Just how to make it? It’s rather simple: put marinated shrimps into a roasting pan, then pour in coconut milk and roast the ingredients stably over low heat. By this way, shrimps are gradually absorbed with the coconut milk and turn red. That is when the dish is ready to serve. Shrimps now look glossy, are a bid crispy and have characteristic taste.

For visitors who come to Ben Tre for a culinary experience, it is regretful to bypass the coconut rice and roasted shrimp with coconut milk. Coming to Ben Tre, visitors should try to have a coconut rice along with roasted shrimp with coconut milk to experience the quintessence of Ben Tre cuisine and have a good impression of the homeland of coconut.

Written by Hanh Chi

Translated by Truong Hung