The coral grouper,Cephalopholis miniata, also known as the coral hind, coral rock cod, coral cod, coral trout, round-tailed trout or vermillion seabass is very much prized in Vietnam, and is one of the most prized groupers. A similar red coral grouper or tomato grouper, Cephalopholis sonnerati, is even more prized.
In Vietnam, both are called cá mú đỏ (lit. red grouper), but the color of the coral grouper is much lighter. Unlike other groupers which can be farm-raised, the coral grouper and the tomato grouper are wild-caught. Imported tomato groupers are sold at very high prices due to the scarcity of the fish.
Groupers, in general, are praised for their sweet flesh and chicken-like chewy texture which appeals to the Vietnamese. According to the experience of the Vietnamese fishermen, the bigger the grouper, the better the meat. Most parts of the grouper are used, the head, skin, tail, and bones, to cook delicious dishes. The fish head is often used to cook fish sour soup, the body is often steamed with mushrooms. The grouper tail can be deep fried, and even the grouper intestine can be stir-fired with vegetables. Steaming is always a restaurant first choice, because this method can retain the sweetness of the flesh.
Clean the grouper, marinate with 1 teaspoon granule seasoning, white/rice wine and ginger and then place the fish in the steamer for 10 minutes on high heat. Steaming the grouper helps remove the fishy smell.
In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, and add garlic and minced shallot to sautee, add the pork or chicken broth. Season with 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon MSG, 2 teaspoon seasoning powder, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, and turn off the heat. Add 1 tablespoon rice wine and 1 little sesame oil, then pour the hot sauce on the steamed fish. Scoop up the sauce and pour on the fish several times.
Prepare a portable stove with a steel tray for warming, place the fish and pour the sauce. Garnish with scallions and chili. Warm the fish.