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Monday 11 April 2011

Sluttishly Savoury: Salmon in a Thai Broth

Spring = time for lighter dishes. No-one wants heavy stews or chillis when it's so lovely out. Apart from the fact that hefty dishes are a culinary turn-off when the mercury is reaching 21C, who wants to spend ages faffing in the kitchen when you could be outside playing in the sunshine?

Soup feels like a wintry dish, but broth, its lighter, more delicate sister, is perfect for this season. Inspired by chef Angela Hartnett, I made her recipe for salmon in ginger and lemongrass broth but wasn't happy with how it turned out. The salmon skulks at the bottom of the bowl in one big piece. There isn't a broth so much as a shallow layer of water. You get approximately five noodles and a stingy amount of veg per bowl. And what on earth are spring greens? All I know is they were two quid for a tiny bag in Sainsbury's. No ta, I could get a cake for that. I called the finished dish: Hidden Salmon, Crouching Vegetables. (With Cake.)

So I made a few changes, and here's my revamped recipe. Swap the salmon for cubed tofu as a vegetarian alternative, which is what I did for dinner the next day. Switch the fish sauce for a hefty pinch of salt.

Salmon in a Thai Broth (serves 2)

Adapted from Angela Hartnett's Guardian recipe

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2cm ginger, grated
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillis, finely chopped
  • Lemongrass stalk, split down the middle
  • 500ml cold water
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • Handful of sugar snap peas
  • Nest of dried noodles
  • Juice and rind of 1 lime
  • Coriander leaves, chopped
Make it!
  1. Fry the garlic, ginger, red onion, chillis and lemongrass in the oil over a low-medium heat for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cold water and bring to the boil, then add the soy sauce and fish sauce. No need for salt, the fish sauce is salty enough.
  3. Gently lower in the salmon fillets and turn down the heat. Make sure the water covers them or they won't cook through.
  4. After 4 minutes, remove the salmon (you can leave the tofu to happily bob around, absorbing the flavours, but the salmon will fall apart if overcooked). Chop into bite-sized pieces, divide between the bowls and cover each with a small plate to keep the heat in.
  5. Add the vegetables and noodles, bring back to the boil and simmer until the noodles are cooked - about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the lime juice and rind, take out the lemongrass stick. Divide the noodly broth between the bowls, top with coriander, and serve.
It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, leaving you the whole evening free to skip around outside until sunset. Wheee!


  1. Important note: deseed the chilli, or use only one. This was lovely but waaay too hot! Couldn't finish the broth.

    Also, I think my nest of noodles was particularly large as they soaked up a lot of the water and I had to add more.

  2. I made this with extra veg and a can of coconut milk to add more liquid - also added fresh mint.

    I had the opposite issue to Naomi and had to add dried chilli flakes to make it hotter! I did use the pre cooked 'heat through' noodles so had plenty of broth left.


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