Vietnamese Sticky Salmon



1/2 a cucumber

1 salmon fillet

1 clove of garlic

1 red chilli

1 pak choi

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame

2 tsp rice wine vinegar


1 tbsp desiccated coconut

150g basmati rice

1/3 lemon

50 ml milk

A pinch of saffron

1 Small knob of butter


FOR THE RICE: You can make this on the day, if you prefer. Toast the coconut in a pan until lightly golden, tossing regularly, then remove. Put the rice into the same pan, cover with boiling kettle water and boil for 6 minutes, then cool quickly under cold running water and drain well. Tip into a bowl, squeeze over the lemon juice, add the toasted coconut and a big pinch of sea salt and black pepper and mix well. TO SERVE Gently heat the milk, adding the saffron to infuse. Rub the butter across the base of a cold 26cm non-stick frying pan, then sprinkle in the cardamom pods. Tip in the rice, then use your hands to shape into a dome. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke a few holes deep into the dome to help the rice steam and create vessels, so you can spoon in the warm saffron milk. Cover carefully with a scrunched-up sheet of damp greaseproof paper. Use tin foil to tightly seal the pan, then cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, or until the base is crispy and the rice is fluffy and hot through.

FOR THE SALMON AND SALAD: Preheat grill to maximum. Using a rolling pin, bash the cucumber until it starts to split, then cut into rough diagonal pieces. Put into a sieve over a bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Leave for a few minutes for the water to drain off. Cut the salmon fillet in half. Lay on a baking tray, slide under grill for 5 minutes. Meanwhile finely chop the garlic and red chilli - remove the seeds if you don’t like it hot. Cut the pak choi in half lengthways. Mix together the fish sauce, sugar and soy sauce in a bowl, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Come back to the salmon. Lay the pak choi cut side down on the baking tray, then drizzle the sauce over the salmon. Scatter over the sesame seeds and slide back under grill for 3 minutes. While the salmon and pak choi are grilling, drain away the water from the bowl under the cucumber and stir the cucumber into the the finely chopped garlic, chilli and rice wine vinegar. By now the salmon should be cooked - check by slicing into the thickest piece and checking if it is pink in colour. Serve with the rice and drizzle over cooking sauces.

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