Monday, May 21, 2012


The other day my local fish monger was selling small-sized (about 2.5-3#) salmons, so I had to purchase one.  I always make salmon fillets, so cooking a whole one is different.  And with all of the white salmon in my freezer that I've been making for the past several months, it was a welcome change.  I didn't want to steam it or bake it--and definitely NOT fry it, so I decided to poach it, although poaching is "sort of" like steaming.  Since my pantry has a variety of spices/ingredients, I thought about making a Thai Style poached salmon, so I perused the Net for some ideas (with more than 300 cookbooks in my library, I still peruse the net for ideas).  After coming across an interesting recipe from the Australian website, I pulled out some of my favorite Thai ingredients and adapted a dish to my liking. 

3 lemongrass stems, bruised and cut in half
6 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 cup fresh ginger, sliced
6 garlic cloves sliced
2.5# whole salmon cleaned and scaled
1 bunch cilantro (coriander), about 2 cups
1/2 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
2 1/2 tbs tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup fish sauce
Lime wedges, to serve

Place half of the lemongrass, 4 lime leaves, garlic and half of the ginger in the cavity of the fish.  Put the fish in a poacher, cover with cold water and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and let fish simmer for about 20-30 minutes until just cooked.

While fish is cooking, wash cilantro and pick off the leaves and refrigerate until ready to use. Chop/slice cilantro roots. Place palm sugar in a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add cilantro roots, onion, remaining lemongrass and ginger and lime leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Add tamarind concentrate and fish sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes. Strain and set aside until ready to serve.

Carefully remove the fish from the poaching liquid and place on a large serving platter. Pat dry with a paper towel. Pour the sauce over the fish and garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

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