A sweet and savory miso-glazed salmon with creamy coconut rice makes a perfect weeknight meal.
Recipes are like memories. When I cook, I recreate feelings and tastes from my past, whether it’s places I’ve lived or places I’ve traveled. This recipe is grounded in my childhood experiences in Papua New Guinea. My parents were there as missionaries. Rice was a staple in our diet and coconuts were ubiquitous.
When a coconut got old, the flesh and the water inside weren’t that tasty served fresh, so the men would scrape the flesh from the coconut, mix it with the remaining coconut water, and end up with what they called coconut gris (grease). It was a mix between coconut oil and coconut milk – sort of like a coconut cream. They would use coconut fronds to weave intricate little baskets for the rice, boil the rice in these baskets, and place the coconut gris in the pot so when you would take out the little rice packets they were flavored with the coconut.
How to Make Miso Salmon and Coconut Rice
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My version of coconut rice isn’t nearly as time-consuming or intricate as the one from Papua New Guinea. No coconut frond rice balls here. But trust me, it’s still good! Make sure to use coconut milk, not coconut water, they’re completely different products. The water comes from the inside of young, fresh coconuts, while the milk is made from a mixture of the flesh and the water. The coconut milk will often separate in the can, so you’ll see a thick creamy layer with more watery liquid below – this is totally fine, you can just pour it right in as is to make your rice. You prepare coconut rice the exact same way as regular rice, just substitute some of the coconut milk for water.
The fatty-meaty texture of salmon is the perfect companion for creamy coconut rice, and the miso glaze unites the dish with a sweet/salty flavor combination. The glaze is inspired by an old recipe from Cooking Light. While the rice is cooking, you’ll start on the miso glaze. You’ll use white miso paste, found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near the natural foods like tofu or with the condiments like dressings. I found my version at Whole Foods – one tub will last a long time. For the glaze, I’ve found that heating the water to boiling makes the miso paste much easier to mix in – skip this step and you’ll have a clumpy glaze. Use a fork or whisk instead of a spoon for the smoothest glaze.After the glaze is ready you can prep the salmon. Place your fillets on one large sheet of foil right next to each other and fold over the edges to create a foil boat for the salmon. The goal is to have a foil lip with sealed corners so that when you pour the miso glaze over the salmon, it will stay on top of the salmon and not leak onto the sheet pan. If your glaze leaks onto the pan, you’ll lose the best part of the meal and it can also be a mess to clean up.
If you try this recipe for miso salmon and coconut rice, please leave a comment and review below to let me know what you think!
- 1 cup white rice
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
- 13 oz coconut milk lite or regular
- 2 tablespoons white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 lbs 24 oz raw salmon, skin on
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To make the rice, mix the rice, coconut milk, and 3/4 cup of water in a rice cooker and cook until done. Alternatively, cook the mixture on the stove following the rice package directions.
- In a glass bowl or measuring cup microwave 2 tablespoons water for 2 minutes. Add white miso paste and mix with a fork until dissolved. Add brown sugar and soy sauce and mix until smooth.
- Put a large piece of foil on a baking sheet and place the salmon fillets in the center, skin side down. Fold the edges of the foil around the salmon to form a bowl, make sure the corners are sealed.
- Pour the miso mixture over the salmon and bake for 12-24 minutes until flaky (bake time will depend on the thickness of your fillets).
- Plate the rice, place the salmon on top, and drizzle any extra miso glaze over the salmon.