Saturday 24 February 2018

Forkful's speedy suppers: Salmon stir-fry with basmati

Salmon stir-fry with basmati. Photo: Mark Duggan
Salmon stir-fry with basmati. Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

Regular readers of this column will know that I've been leaning further and further east for flavour ideas. Though my miso phase has appeared to run its course (for now), I'm still on the hunt for simple ways of dialling up the umami volume of my speedy suppers.

One of my favourite Irish chefs, Katie Sanderson, has recently launched her Peanut Rāyu, a blend of chopped peanuts, chilli oil and garlic made to Sanderson's exacting standards based on a traditional Japanese condiment. It's so good, I almost don't want to tell you about it.

I'd been intrigued by photos of this deliciousness on Sanderson's Instagram account (@katiejsanderson) so when I spotted it in my local Green Door Market in Dublin 8 last weekend, I swooped up a jar and added a dollop of it to poached egg on sourdough with a drizzle of natural yogurt on top too. The sauce is the embodiment of the kind of food I love to eat: packing heat and belting out savoury umami vibes. My only mistake was not buying two jars... it hasn't lasted the week.

This week's recipe doesn't quite reach the same aspirational heights of culinary achievement as Sanderson's Rāyu, but the sweet yet salty soy sauce, simmered until almost sticky, makes this salmon stir-fry a worthy treat for a speedy supper.

Perhaps controversially, I'm using basmati rice as opposed to the shorter-grained Japanese rice. My reasoning is simple - basmati is always in my storecupboard!

This recipe suggests using a small cup for measuring the rice, and I use a small coffee cup for this. The basic rule is to use double the amount of water as rice (so 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice) and just let it boil away and do its thing. I've kept the rice plain here because the soy sauce packs a punch.

Salmon stir-fry with basmati

Serves 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


1 small cup of basmati rice

2 shallots

3 cloves of garlic

1 red chilli

1 tablespoon of freshly chopped ginger

40ml of light soy sauce

40ml of dark soy sauce

40ml of mirin

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

2 fresh salmon fillets

1 bunch of spring onions

Half a cup (about 100g) of white rice

1 red chilli, to serve


1. Put a small cup of rice and then twice as much water into a small pot. Bring it to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the water has completely evaporated and rice is tender. Careful not to burn your pan!

2. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the shallot, garlic, red chilli and ginger for about 5 minutes, until the shallots are soft and translucent.

3. Pour the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, mirin and rice wine vinegar into a mixing jug, and blend well.

4. Slice the salmon fillets into four or six pieces, depending on the size of the fillets and add to the frying pan. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the fish and the vegetables. Add the spring onions to the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer and allow to bubble away for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through or to your liking.

5. When the salmon is cooked, transfer it and the spring onions to a serving plate. Keep warm while you increase the heat on the sauce left in the pan. Let it bubble away for about five minutes until it has reduced to a slightly thicker consistency.

6. Arrange the boiled rice around the salmon and greens, and pour the hot sauce over everything. Serve with a sprinkling of some freshly chopped red chillis and spring onions.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Basmati: More often than not, I find myself reaching for basmati rice over the reportedly healthier brown rice in my pantry. Basmati is mostly grown in India and Pakistan, and its name comes from the Hindi word basmati, which means 'fragrant'. Once you perfect your method, basmati is a much easier and faster rice to cook.

Irish Independent

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