Recipe by Tony Smith
This style of cooking combines the refreshing fragrance that gives Vietnamese food its fame, but with the addition of caramel. Perhaps introduced from the French, this dish takes on deep richness and lends itself to be matched with a dark beer.
The sauce can be made ahead of time and the dish finished as required.
4 salmon steaks or fillet pieces
T H E C A R A M E L
5 Tbsp white sugar
5 Tbsp water, plus 2 cups water
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 fresh garlic cloves, crushed and diced
3 Tbsp Vietnamese or Asian fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 red chilli, finely sliced
2 tomatoes, blanched, skinned, seeded, and finely diced
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
T O G A R N I S H
A handful of fresh coriander
4 spring onion greens, sliced
8 cherry tomatoes or one diced tomato
Place the sugar and 5 tablespoons of water for the caramel into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly until it begins to colour, firstly to a sandy colour then to a deeper brown. As soon as it reaches a golden syrup colour, take off the heat and pour in the 2 cups of water. Bring back to the boil to ensure caramel sugar is well dissolved. Keep aside.
Fry the onion in the oil until nicely coloured, add ginger and garlic, fry a little more then add all remaining ingredients including the caramel, and cook rapidly for 5 minutes. Keep aside.
Heat a little oil in a pan, place in the salmon steaks, turn them and pour over the sauce, simmer to complete the cooking, around 5 minutes.
Sprinkle over the garnishing coriander, spring onions and tomato. Serve with steamed rice.