After the record king catch this summer, we’ve been eating a lot of king salmon. It’s been great! In an effort to branch out a little, I tried something new and bold–Thai style king salmon. I thought I would share the recipe. This recipe does require a few things the average Western kitchen doesn’t have, but once you try this, you’ll be glad you went to the trouble to get those ingredients. Although the salmon is deep fried, it does not become heavy with oil like other, more absorbent fried items. It’s really a wonderful way to cook salmon as it cooks very quickly, evenly, and makes the edges nice and crispy. I served this with green papaya salad and crunchy garlic and coriander seeds (see bottom for recipe).
- 3-5 coriander (cilantro) roots, cleaned, coarsely chopped (Asian grocery stores often sell cilantro with the root still on)
- 1 lb king salmon. Skin on. Thawed.
- High heat oil like coconut, avocado, or peanut oil
- Crush coriander root, garlic, chillies, and salt in a large mortar and pestle.
- Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan.
- Add the shallot and ginger.
- fry and stir for about 1 minute
- Add coriander paste from the mortar and pestle. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add tamarind, sugar, and fish sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside.
Fish (Make the sauce first and cook the fish after)
- Thaw king salmon in fridge overnight.
- Cut vacuum bag open in sink and rinse salmon once with cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add about 2 inches of oil to a heavy pan. If the pan just fits the piece of salmon then you’ll waste the least amount of oil.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat until it’s 350-375 deg F. You can use a candy thermometer to measure it.
- When oil is hot, use tongs to place fish in oil flesh side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes then carefully flip it and cook for another 1 minute. A total of 5 minutes should work for most pieces of fish in the 1 lb. range. Adjust accordingly for smaller or larger pieces.
- When done, remove from oil and let the fish rest on a paper towel for a few minutes.
I serve this to my family by simply putting everything on the table. We carve off a piece of salmon then put a little sauce on top, then sprinkle the fried coriander and garlic for crunch (see below). Green onions cut thin long ways and about 1 inch long also look nice on top. The sauce is powerful so done cover up the salmon too much, a little sauce goes a long way. Place a lime wedge on each plate.
I have become fond of a Thai garnish made by simply deep frying crushed or chopped garlic and cordiander seeds for 30-60 seconds. Its very crispy, crunchy, and delicious and can be sprinkled over almost any Southeast Asian dish to great effect and fan fare. Break a head of garlic apart and put all the larger cloves in your mortar and pestle. Crush the garlic just enough to loosen the paper/shells. Pick them out then add about an equal amount of coriander seeds to the mortar and pestle. Crush all together then deep fry just until very light brown. Have a mesh spoon ready to quickly extract them from the oil as they cook quick and overcook even quicker. Place on paper towels to drain for a minute or two and serve in a bowl with you meal. Folks can sprinkle them on the fish.