Meals and Courses

  • 200 g (7 oz) dried rice noodles
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, very finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, bottom two-thirds only, very finely chopped
  • 5 cm (2 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) can coconut milk
  • 300 ml (½ pint) chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • juice of 1½ limes
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 400 g (13 oz) monkfish tail, cut into large chunks
  • 250 g (8 oz) mussels, scrubbed and debearded (see page 12)
  • 4 red mullet fillets, pin-boned
  • salt and pepper

Place the noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, then drain.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots, chilli, lemon grass and ginger and fry over a gentle heat until the shallot has softened. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours. Season the soup by adding the fish sauce, the juice of 1 lime and the sugar. Adjust quantities to taste.

Add the drained noodles and the monkfish to the soup and cook for 2 minutes. Discard any mussels that don't shut when tapped, then add to the soup. Cook until they open and the monkfish is firm.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Season the mullet with salt and pepper and fry, skin-side down, for 3 minutes, or until the skin becomes crispy. Turn the fish over and cook for a further minute. Squeeze the remaining lime juice over the fish.

Divide the soup between 4 bowls, removing any mussels that have not opened, and top with the mullet.

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