So this was a life saver. Proof that you can conjure more exciting meals from your freezer than simply defrosting a lasagne. Oh and don’t be put off by the idea of caramel and fish – the counter weight of garlic, chilli and fish sauce means everything works quite beautifully.
from The Vietnamese Market Cookbook by Van Tran and Anh Vu
500g salmon fillets
50g thinly sliced ginger
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
200ml coconut milk (I hacked some off a block of creamed coconut and mixed with hot water)
2 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. gia vi (or a mix of 2 parts sugar, 1 part sea salt, 1 part ground black pepper, 1 part garlic powder)
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp. loose green tea
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tbsp. crushed garlic
2 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp. chopped galangal (or 1 extra tbsp. ginger)
4 tbsp. sugar
cut the salmon fillets into 4cm chunks. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and rub into the salmon. Cover and leave in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
To make the caramel, place a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat, add the sugar and leave for 2-3 minutes without stirring. Turn the heat down to low and then stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes, until no grains of sugar are visible. The sugar will begin to melt and turn a brownish colour. Pay special attention to the colour of the caramel under the bubbles as it will darken very quickly. Just before it turns dark, add the water and cook until it boils. Don’t worry if the sugar hardens upon contact with the water, as it will melt as it cooks, forming a caramel sauce.
Leave the caramel sauce to cool down for about 10 minutes, then stir in the sliced ginger.
Pour this sauce over the marinated salmon, then cover and leave in the fridge for another 20 minutes.
Now put a pan over a medium heat, add the vegetable oil and add the marinated salmon.
When the salmon starts to bubble, pour in the coconut milk and then taste the sauce again and add more fish sauce or sugar if necessary, before adding the chopped chillies.
Turn the heat down to low and leave the salmon to simmer for about 25 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by half.
Serve with rice and pickles.