My favourite seafood rice dish is this! It’s something I cannot understand why, maybe because like everything it originated in India!
I just love Nigella’s version and usually end up making enough to feed an army (literally) this is because it’s so easy to make and can also be frozen once cooled – great as a last minute addition to the weekday when you have little time. This is one of my comfort dishes of sorts and NL’s recipe cleverly combines Indian, Thai and South-East Asia flavours. I have been known to bring this along to picnics with some spicy green coriander and mint chutney – surprisingly it always goes down very well with a lovely bottle of Chablis…
This recipe serves about 4-6.
4 salmon fillet (approx. 3cm thick – preferably organic skinned (about 750g in total, but don’t worry too much if you’re over)
2 lime leaves (torn into pieces) & 1 bay leaf
45g unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
½ tsp each of ground coriander, ground cumin & turmeric powder
225g basmati rice
3 medium eggs, hard boiled & quartered
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped, plus more for sprinkling
2 whole fresh green chillies.
1 1/2 lime, juice & zest, plus 1/2 lime into segments to serve
Thai fish sauce to taste
Poaching the Salmon: Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. This is because the easiest way to poach the salmon for this is to do it in the oven. So: pour the water into a roasting dish; add the lime and bay leaves, chillies and then the salmon. Cover the dish with foil, put in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, by which time the salmon should be tender. Remove the dish from the oven and drain the liquid off into a jug. Keep the fish warm simply by replacing the foil on the dish.
For the Rice: Melt the butter in a wide, heavy saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid, and add the oil to stop the butter from burning. Soften the onion in the pan (about 10 mins) and add the spices, then keep cooking till the onion is slightly translucent and suffused with the soft perfume of the spices. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon so that it’s all well coated. There’s not enough onion to give a heavy coating: just make sure the rice is fragrantly slicked.
Pour in the reserved liquid from the jug about 500ml and the fresh green chillies – and stir before covering with the lid and cooking gently for about 15 minutes. If your stove is vociferous you may need a heat-diffuser.
At the end of the cooking time, when the rice is tender and has lost all chalkiness, turn off the heat, remove the lid, cover the pan with a tea towel and then replace the lid. This will help absorb any extra moisture from the rice. It is also the best way to let the rice stand without getting claggy or cold, which is useful when you’ve got a few friends and a few dishes to keep your eye on.
Just before you want to eat, drain off any extra liquid that’s collected in the dish with the salmon, then flake the fish with a fork. Add to it the rice, eggs, coriander, lime juice and a drop or two of fish sauce. Stir gently to mix – I use a couple of wooden paddles or spatulas – and taste to see if you want any more lime juice or fish sauce.
Sprinkle over the zest from the two juiced halves of the lime and serve.
I love it served just as it is in the roasting dish, but if you want to, and I often do (consistency is a requirement of a recipe but not a cook), decant into a large plate before you add the lime zest, then surround with lime segments and add the zest and a small handful of freshly chopped coriander.
Green Coriander and Mint Chutney, yes it does compliment the Salmon as it does with BBQ meats, tandoori’s, roasts etc
4-6 fresh green chillies – chopped roughly (deseed if you wish) 2 ½ cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 fat juicy garlic cloves 75g creamed coconut or natural yogurt
1 large bunch of coriander & small mint. ½ tsp salt
Pinch of caster sugar Juice of 3 limes
Put the chillies, ginger, garlic, and creamed coconut or yogurt into a food processor and blitz to a paste. Add the coriander and mint and pulse again until the herbs blend. Add the salt and pinch of sugar then, with the motor running pour in the lime juice slowly thru the funnel, processing again to mix thoroughly. Taste to see if you want to add the remaining lime juice.
That’s it, done. You can keep this in a jar in the fridge for up to a month – this can also become a simple marinade for chicken!