Salmon Poached in Spicy Thai Sauce

I was in the mood for something very spicy tonight. Something that would leave a lasting impression! It was a balmy evening so I also didn’t want anything too heavy or rich, so settled on a light Thai fish dish. Salmon works really well with coconut based curry sauces so was a perfect choice for this dish. I added a lot of chillies (more than I suggest here), maybe 30, which made it more than a little spicy. It was completely manageable though and gave me a hot, but incredibly fragrant sauce to accompany the fish. You can scale the chillies up or down obviously. 5 will give you medium/mild moving up the scale to 20 for hot. Whatever your threshold is, you’ll enjoy this I’m sure!

INGREDIENTS:
For the paste:

2 large French shallots or 1 small red onion (chopped)
5 cloves garlic (chopped)
3″ piece of fresh ginger (chopped)
1/2 tablespoon fresh coriander roots & stalks (chopped)
2 lemongrass stalks (whites only, chopped)
10-20 hot Thai red chillies (seeds in, chopped)
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons peanut oil

For the sauce:
4 200g skinless salmon fillets
3 tablespoons peanut oil
400ml coconut cream
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small carrot (thinly sliced)
1/2 head broccoli (cut into small florets)
10 sugar snap peas
1/2 cup fresh coriander
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil
2 kaffir lime leaves (shredded)
1 lime (juice of)

DIRECTIONS:
In a food processor, blend together all the paste ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a wok with the peanut oil over a medium high heat. When hot, tip in the paste and stir, let it sizzle for 5 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking. Pour in the coconut cream, fish sauce, sugar and about 300ml water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Gently slide in the salmon fillets and cook for 5-8 minutes until cooked thorough. Carefully remove from the pan and tip in the vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Stir a few of the herbs and the lime juice and serve.

SERVING:
Over a bed of Jasmine rice, spoon over some sauce and vegetables, then place a salmon fillet on top. Spoon over a little more sauce. Garnish with Thai basil, coriander and shredded kaffir leaves and a few snow pea shoots. Enjoy!

  • I’m impressed by using 20 chillies in the paste! It sounds like a lovely dish though and me and my husband luckily both love chillies.

    • I remember the first time I put more than 2 chillies into a dish. The sheer panic! It’s worth adding as many as you can with this dish – the more the merrier. You can always tone it down by adding more coconut milk if it turns into something traumatic… I’m like you – I love a head numbing spice to my curries!

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