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Salmon teriyaki

Feb 7, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: A to Z of recipes, Fish recipes, Main courses

Teriyaki sauce

This is a favourite of my second son and all his friends. It is a quick and easy recipe, and if you make extra teriyaki sauce it keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks. This dish goes well with lightly steamed asparagus; if you are feeling a bit more indulgent try stir fried asparagus with garlic instead.

Serves 4 Preparation time 15 mins Cooking time 30 mins

1. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a heavy based saucepan.
2. Bring the sauce ingredients to the boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer until it thickens and becomes slightly viscous, which takes about 20 minutes. (Stir occasionally to make sure the sugar has dissolved.)
3. Wash the salmon fillets and season them very lightly with salt. (Soy sauce is very salty so you don’t need very much salt on the salmon; if you are worried about your salt consumption you could miss out the salt completely.)  Keep the salmon out of the fridge for about 10 minutes before cooking it.
4. Heat the oil over a high heat in a large heavy based frying pan and blot the salmon fillets dry before cooking them.
5. When the oil is very hot (but not so hot that it is ‘smoking’), put the salmon fillets into the frying pan and cook on high heat for ½ – 1 minute on each side – until lightly browned, then cover the pan and cook over a medium heat for another 3 or 4 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook the salmon – check the centre of the salmon after 2 minutes of cooking, then every 1 minute. (When the salmon is cooked it loses its ‘shiny and translucent’ appearance and looks more opaque instead.)
6. Sprinkle the chilli powder on top of the salmon (if using it) and then pour the hot teriyaki sauce on top of the cooked salmon and serve immediately. (It’s best to heat the sauce separately over a low or medium heat, then add it at the end to the cooked salmon, because the sauce burns if cooked for a long time on a high heat due to the high sugar content.)

4 salmon fillets
Pinch of Chilli powder (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil for shallow frying

Teriyaki Sauce
120 mls soy sauce (Kikkoman brand if you can get it)
120 mls mirin (this is a Japanese sweet rice wine)
40 mls sake (Japanese rice wine)
2 tablespoons sugar

Additional Information
I first had salmon teriyaki many years ago at a barbecue at my brother’s place; I loved it so much that I decided to try cooking it myself. My brother had used a bottled teriyaki sauce which was delicious and I used to use the same brand until they stopped selling it in the UK. For many years I didn’t make salmon teriyaki because none of the other ready made sauces tasted as good as the one that my brother had used at his barbecue. It was only after my children first tried salmon teriyaki at a Japanese restaurant and loved it that I decided to try making the sauce at home and discovered how easy it was!

Nowadays I bake the salmon instead of frying it – this method is ultra easy and has the added benefit of not making your home smell like a fish and chip shop.

1)Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C

2) Wash the salmon fillets.

3) Sprinkle a touch of salt (and chilli powder if using it) on top of the fleshy side of the salmon.

4) Lay the salmon fillets flesh side down in a casserole dish (i.e. skin side up) – this step is very important to make sure the salmon doesn’t stick to the dish, and so that it is soft and tender after baking.

5) Cook for between 18 to 22 minutes depending on how thick the fillets are.

6) Remove  the fillets from the casserole dish and pour a little hot teriyaki sauce on top of each fillet before serving.

Health benefits of salmon
The health benefits of salmon are mostly due to their high content of ‘good fats’ – omega 3 fatty acids – which have been shown to prevent a host of conditions – heart attacks, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease; also they minimise arthritis symptoms, reduce hypertension and control blood glucose levels. In addition to all these benefits, people with sufficient levels of omega 3 fatty acids appear to have lower levels of depression, a lower suicide risk and are less aggressive. Salmon is also a good source of vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin B3 (niacin), selenium and magnesium.

I don’t really want to go into the whole controversy about PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury in salmon. If possible, buy organic ocean farmed fish as they have low levels of PCBs and mercury. (Ocean farmed salmon has levels similar to those found in wild salmon;  I guess one shouldn’t buy wild salmon because of the worry about declining fish stocks globally, but you can check on whether the fish is from an environmentally responsible fishery or not. Alaskan wild salmon apparently is MSC certified – i.e. the Marine Stewardship Council has deemed it an environmentally responsible fishery.)

Fresh versus frozen fish
The other issue that is worth bringing up is that frozen fish is a good option; nowadays a rapid freezing process is used at sea immediately after the fish is caught, so the fresh flavour is retained. When defrosting fish, this should be done slowly (24 hours) in a fridge; this minimises the risk of bacterial contamination.  (Defrosting in water causes the flavour to be lost and diluted.)  On the other hand, fresh fish bought from a supermarket might have been caught a few days before it actually reaches your plate at home, so unless you know a good fishmonger who can guarantee the freshness of the fish, it may be worth buying frozen fish.

Teriyaki sauce
Teriyaki sauce keeps very well in the fridge for a few weeks, and also works well with other fish, chicken and meat.

We would love to hear from you about this recipe!