Com chay (buddha rice)

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 Coconut (or 1.1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk mixed
With 1.1/2 cups water)
3 cups Long grain rice
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
2 Inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced very thin, stacked, and
Cut into thin sticks
½ teaspoon Salt
1 Bay leaf
¼ cup Soy sauce

Buddha rice is a vegetarian dish honored by all Vietnamese and is eaten on certain days of the month that have religious significance and during the moon's full phase. This recipe comes from Binh's aunt (Binh is the author of the cookbook), one of his first cooking teachers.

1. To make coconut milk from a fresh coconut, take a hammer or heavy cleaver and hit the coconut over a sink all around the center, forming a circle. The coconut should break in half easily; if not, hit it a few more times. Discard the water that comes from the middle and remove the outer shell. Cut the halves in smaller pieces. Peel each piece, then gate or shred the coconut. Put the coconut meat in a medium bowl and cover with 2 cups hot water. Let stand for about 8 minutes, then pour the coconut mixture through a fine strainer placed over a bowl. Press hard to extract as much "cream" as possible. Add enough water to make three cups coconut liquid or combine the canned unsweetened coconut milk with water.

2. Rinse the rice in several changes of water and drain well in a colander. Let the rice dry in the colander, shaking it occasionally.

3. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring to coat it well, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt, bay leaf, coconut liquid, and soy sauce and bring to a boil.

Let the rice cook without stirring, uncovered, until the liquid settles and holes form all over the top, about 5 minutes. reduce the heat to very low, cover tightly, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and stir the rice to fluff it up. Serve hot. The rice can sit, covered, for up to 1 hour before serving.

Source: Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking From The Cookie Lady's Files

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