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Green Charleston Gold Rice with Lobster and Mango

Flavors informed by bright, sunny, tropical elements.

4 to 6 main course portions


After the fish stock has been prepared, it will take 2 hours to soak the rice, about 25 minutes to cook it and let it steam, and about 20 minutes to make the sauce


Inspired by the accents of Thai green curry, this dish blends floral green chiles, herbs, aromatic alliums, and coconut milk into a flowing sauce that carries its mesmerizing flavors and vivid but fleeting heat into a pot of Anson Mills Laurel-Aged Charleston Gold rice. The rice, simmered in fish fumet, coconut milk, and lemongrass, cooks to a lovely sheen with a delicate blooming flavor and bounces straight to separate grain. Because Charleston Gold is an aromatic rice (unlike its mother, Carolina Gold), its signature flavor takes on the spirited flavors of the sauce to perfection. Set up with sweet lobster meat and cubes of mango, the whole dish claims a beautiful summery insouciance. Nothing if not elegant—its subdued flavor palate kept at arm’s length from overkill—this room temperature main course suits any fancy outdoor luncheon or supper.

Cooking Remarks

Yes, to make this recipe experience really shine, you’re going to have to produce a batch of Aromatic Fish Stock. We hate hacking up fish frames as much as the next monger, but well-prepared food depends on flavor layering, and stock forms the first layer of flavor nine times out of 10. We’re not offering alternative options here because we don’t believe there are any. We tried the preparation without stock many times, but the rice didn’t truly blow us away until we added it.

To cook a couple of 1½ pound-lobsters, bring a lobster pot full of water to a rolling boil over high heat. (Add some bay leaves and peppercorns for fun.) Plunge the live lobsters into the pot and cook them for 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately transfer the lobsters to a large bowl set in the sink and allow cold water to flow over them until they are cool. They are now ready to be shelled.

We created this dish with lobster in mind, but shrimp could easily replace the larger crustaceans. If you choose shrimp, buy 2 pounds of 16/20s. Peel the shrimp (leaving the tails on 12 or 15 individual shrimp, to be used for garnish), devein and season them, and sauté them in butter. Add them to the rice in the same manner the lobster is added.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a digital kitchen scale, a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, a wooden spoon, a blender, a small bowl, a 10-inch skillet with a lid, a large bowl, a rubber spatula, and a serving platter.

  • for the rice:

  • for the sauce:

    • 3
      serrano chiles (1.3 ounces), seeded and coarsely chopped
    • 1
      large garlic clove, peeled and halved
    • 2
      teaspoons peeled and coarsely chopped ginger
    • 4
      medium scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths (1.2 ounces)
    • 1.5
      ounces cilantro (leaves and tender stems only) from 1 large bunch
    • 0.5
      ounce Italian basil leaves or 0.2 ounce Thai basil leaves from 1 bunch
    • 1.5
      ounces (3 tablespoons) lime juice
    • 1
      ounce (2 tablespoons) full-fat coconut milk
    • 1
      ounce (2 tablespoons) Aromatic Fish Stock
    • 0.5
      ounce (1 tablespoon) avocado oil
    • 2
      teaspoons fish sauce
    • Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 2
      tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2
      (1.5-pound) lobsters, cooked (see Cooking Remarks) and shelled, knuckle and claw meat diced large and tail meat sliced into medallions
    • 1
      large ripe mango (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into fillets, and diced into ½-inch cubes
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Cilantro, Italian basil, or Thai basil flowers or sprigs, for garnish
    • Lemon or lime wedges, for serving (optional)

    Make the sauce: While the rice is cooking, combine the chiles, garlic, ginger, scallions, cilantro, basil, lime juice, coconut milk, fish stock, avocado oil, fish sauce, and salt in a blender jar and process until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl (fig. 3.1), cover, and set aside until ready to use. 


    While the rice is steaming off heat, in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, warm the butter just until melted. Add the lobster meat, toss to coat, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, just until the meat is warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.


    Prepare the rice: Combine the fish stock and coconut milk in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place the pan over low heat and gently warm the mixture until it is just fluid, no hotter. Turn the rice and lemongrass into the saucepan and stir to combine. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 2 hours.


    Remove the saucepan from the refrigerator, sprinkle the salt over the rice, and stir to distribute (fig. 2.1). Cover the pan, set it over medium heat, and bring the contents to simmer; this should take about 10 minutes. Once simmering, immediately reduce the heat to low and cook without disturbing for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam, covered, for 10 minutes.


    When the rice is done steaming, fluff the grains with a fork and turn the rice into a large mixing bowl (fig. 5.1). While the rice is still hot, add the warmed lobster knuckle and claw meat (reserve the tail pieces for garnish), the mango cubes, ⅔ cup of the sauce (reserve the rest for serving), and a scant ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir gently with a rubber spatula to combine. Taste the rice for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Spoon the mixture onto a large platter. Garnish with the lobster tail medallions and with cilantro or basil flowers or sprigs. Serve, passing the lemon or lime wedges and the remaining sauce separately.

    1. 1.1
    1. 4.1
    1. 5.1