Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Spicy baked salmon

The salmon and coconut milk in this dish makes for an extraordinarily indulgent meal with a unique, smoky, spicy flavour from the curry leaves. These curry leaves can be tricky to find but you can usually get fresh ones in most larIndianian shops and in larger supermarkets. If you can't fresh ones, dried curry leaves are easier to get a hold of. Don't substitute with alternatives such as bay leaves as the flavour of the curry leaves is very different.  

Spicy baked salmon

Ingredients (serves 2)

for the marinade:
2 large salmon fillets
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp of red chilli powder
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
juice from half a lemon

for the spicy sauce:
Oil (I'm happy with olive or sunflower oil)
a large red onion, chopped
1 tbsp mustard seeds
an inch piece of ginger, sliced finely
green chillis - to taste (for a spicy sauce, I'd add two)
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tomatoes, chopped
10-15 curry leaves (fresh or dry)
3 heaped tbsp of cocnut cream (or half a can of coconut milk)
Half a mug of warm water

Baking foil
Oven proof tray


1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.
2. For the marinade, mix the marinade ingredients together and rub over the salmon fillets. If the marinade feels a bit too dry to do this, just add a tablespoon of water. Cover and leave for at least 20-30 minutes.
3. Add the oil to a large pan and start to heat on a medium heat. It's important not to have the heat too high as the spices will taste quite bitter if they begin to burn. Add the mustard seeds. 
4. Once the seeds start to 'pop' add the chopped onion and fry until the onion begins to soften.
5.Add the ginger, green chillies and garlic. Fry for a 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally.
6. Add the spices, salt and pepper and fry, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the spices. If you feel the mixture sticking to the pan just add a little more oil or warm water
7. Add the chopped tomatoes and curry leaves. Cook for around 5 minutes, stirring, to allow the spices to cook through to the tomatoes
8. Stir in the coconut cream or milk and the warm water. Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer. The sauce needs to reduce down so that it becomes a thick gravy - around 12-15 minutes.
9. Once you have the right consistency, pour the gravy into a bowl and set aside. Using the same pan, add a little oil and fry the salmon fillets for about a minute on both sides.
10. On a large sheet of baking foil, place half of the gravy. 11.Then put the two salmon fillets on top, adding the remaining gravy on top of the fillets. Wrap the fillets tightly in the foil to make a parcel. 
12. Place in a baking tray and into the oven for 15-20 minutes being careful not to over-cook the salmon as it will dry out.

I served this with the same lightly spiced cumin potatoes which accompanies the chicken thighs in a previous recipe, but given the strong flavours and richness of the fish, plain steamed rice would be perfect.

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