Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sous Vide Recipes: Sambal Salmon with Lime & Thai Basil

After a long hard slog of a year to move into the food industry full time, it's time for a blog post. It's been emotional and exciting but so far so good and there's no looking back. Experimenting with cool foodie gadgets comes with the territory and this week I've been testing out the Sous Vide Supreme, darling of the slow cooking and poaching world.

My mind got thinking to Chinese and South East Asian cooking techniques that sous vide could easily replicate and enhance. Poached, steamed and slow braised dishes would all be wonderful and plunging a bag into a machine that claimed to cook food to perfection whilst I twiddle my thumbs was extremely welcome.

I decided on an easy classic with a twist for my maiden sous vide adventure: juicy salmon smothered in a spicy Malaysian sambal lined with lime slices and plenty of Thai Basil.

Super easy when you have sambal already made up but not much harder to whizz up either. Citrus and aniseed are good friends with salmon so in went a squeeze of lime and lots of liquorice goodness from the Thai Basil.

The geek in me absolutely loved vacuum sealing the bags: if you weren't eating the salmon straight away they would be perfect for an overnight marinade too.

After 20 minutes the fillets slid out neatly onto a bed of egg noodles and broccoli. Moist and still full of fishy flavour, I gave myself a pat on the back for a small first time success. This would be equally delicious on a bed of plain steamed rice and as a large whole fillet to feed more. Here's to yummy spring eating and more good weather!

Sambal Salmon with Lime & Thai Basil

Serves 4

4 salmon fillets (or a larger fillet approx. 600-700g)
2 limes, 1 sliced into rings the other for squeezing
2 handfuls Thai Basil, finely chopped into strands
400g egg noodles
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
Sesame oil, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

For the Sambal Paste
10 whole Dutch red chillies (omit seeds and white membrane for a less spicy sambal)
6 shallots
10 garlic cloves
1.5 tbsp belacan (fermented shrimp paste)
2 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked and drained (easily found in Asian supermarkets or online. If you can't get a hold of it, leave out and use a 0.5 tbsp more of belacan)
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Make the sambal paste. Whizz the chillies, shallots, garlic and dried shrimp in a blender to a textured paste adding oil if you need to make the whizzer go round. Dry-fry the belacan over a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat until fragrant and grainy. Move around the pan so it doesn't catch and burn and when toasted, remove from the pan. Add the oil, then the chilli paste, sugar and the belacan back into the pan. Bring the heat down to low and stirring occasionally, for at least 20-25 minutes or until the oil rises to the surface of the paste. The sambal should look slightly oily and glossy meaning the ingredients have released their own oils. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool down.

2. To prepare the salmon fillets, season lightly and spoon on about 2 tbsp. of sambal paste onto the flesh side. Divide the Thai Basil for the fillets, and then place 2-3 lime slices onto each.

3. Place into poaching pouches and follow instructions to vacuum seal.

4. Follow the instructions to bring the Sous Vide Supreme to 57 degrees Celsius, and drop the sealed bag into the water bath. Set the timer for 20 minutes.

5. During this time, prepare the broccoli and noodles. Cook the noodles to pack instructions and drain, dressing them with sesame oil, white pepper and salt to your liking. Steam the broccoli for 4-5 minutes or until just tender and drain.

6. Serve hot, with the juicy, spicy and tangy salmon pieces. Squeeze more lime juice over for added zing.


Baby Sumo said...

Hellooooooo babe! Miss your posts, glad to hear you're doing well in the food world in London x

Hungry Female said...

Hi Yen! Aw youre sweet. Yes I'm happy to be writing again :)

Tang said...

I want some of this sexy sambal salmon Shu! xx

Hungry Female said...

Going to organise a Sous Vide dinner Cherry! Lot's of recipes to play with:)

missyblurkit said...

Lovely dish...and certainly handy to have extra sambal at home to make this lovely dish in quicker time. Not tried sambal with salmon before so its gonna be a first for me! But first to get my sambal ready...the old fashion style of pounding and all:D

Hungry Female said...

Old fashioned with a granite pestle & mortar is always the best way! And then with Sous Vide, nice blend of old and new:)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if anybody else had tried making Malaysian (etc) dishes using sous vide. I woke up yesterday morning with an inspiration: make a fish rendang, but instead of only cooking it long enough for the fish to cook (and not long enough for the flavours to penetrate, like in a fully-realized rendang ayul or rendang tok), instead fully reduce the sambal on its own and then vacuum-seal it in with the fish (halibut in this case) and sous vide at 130-135F for as long as I feel like.

I cooked the sambal yesterday, because it always improves overnight, and today cooked the halibut at 130F for an hour then 135F for an hour.

The recipe needs a little tweaking, I figure, but the halibut was perfect: my roommates inhaled it.

(I completely agree with missyblurkit's comment about the joy of mixing 5000 BC mortar 'n pestle technology with 2013 sous vide technology (in my case a slow cooker run by a PID controller).

Hungry Female said...

Hi Stephen, I'm in the middle of experimenting with loads of Chinese and Malaysian recipes via sous vide so do keep checking in! I prefer to put spices on direct heat to keep releasing their oils so do this conventionally, then as you say marinate your fish, meat etc in your paste then sous vide. Enjoy! HF x

weiknee said...

Hi, i've nominated you for a Liebster award!