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It’s pink, it’s fatty, it’s tender and, it’s rich with omega-3 fatty acids to boot. For these reasons, salmon is my favourite fish to cook with, especially since it’s packaged neatly filleted and deboned.
There’s just one thing: It’s often sold out at supermarkets these days. I don’t know if it’s the panic buying during the Circuit Breaker or the fact that everybody is suddenly turning healthy but hunting for that one fillet feels a lot like being a eagle-eyed predator skimming over the water’s surface (and returning home with nothing).
That was of course, until I realised that Shopee has an excellent platform to get your groceries. Who would’ve thought really? A quick browse through the app showed a fantastic range of F&B sellers and direct distributors and that only means one thing: Lower prices than what you’d get at your nearest supermarket.
The salmon featured here? It’s from Lian Huat Seafood, a fresh and frozen seafood supplier operating directly out of Jurong Fishery Port. Plus, the company also carries a range of sauces which makes cooking a breeze.
Inspired, I decided to whip up a rendition of the classic ikan bakar dish, or grilled fish. Traditionally, it’s a whole fished marinated in a spicy rempah, wrapped in a banana leaf and then grilled over coals enjoyed all over maritime Southeast Asia.
Here, I’ve given a contemporary twist on this classic and making it perfect size for one using the assam sauce. The tamarind in the sauce gives life to the fatty salmon and the combination goes fantastic with slivers of torch ginger flower as garnish (optional).
But forget the charcoal grill, you still can wrap the salmon up in a banana leaf (and some aluminium foil) and use your oven instead. All you’ll need to complete this meal is a bed of steaming white rice and some vegetables.
Recipe for Spicy grilled salmon done in the style of ikan bakar
One Salmon fillet
One packet of assam sauce
Torch ginger flower (optional, for garnish)
Half a lime
One stalk Lemongrass
One bird’s eye chilli (optional)
Three cloves of garlic
One inch piece of ginger
Half inch piece of Turmeric
One tablespoon of dried shrimp
One teaspoon of belachan
Half a cup of water.
Four tablespoons of oil of your choice (but avoid olive oil for its low smoking point)
1. Prepare the rempah. Slice the lemongrass into 2cm pieces and place it in a blender along with shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, dried shimp, belachan and water. The bird’s eye chilli is optional but add it in if you like it spicy. More if you’re a glutton for punishment. The water should help to ease the blending
2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and then add the rempah. It will sizzle and release a beautiful aroma. Stir continuously so the rempah doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
3. You can tell when the rempah is ready once the oil begins to separate. At this point, add the the assam sauce.
4. Stir until well-combined and allow the rempah to dry a little.
5. Lay out your aluminium foil followed by the banana leaf.
6. Place some rempah on the leaf, and followed by the salmon. Coat the salmon with the rempah. Fold the leaf to cover the salmon, and then the aluminium foil.
7. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees celcius.
8. Place the fish on a tray and bake for 15 minutes.
9. At the 15 minute mark, take out the fish and open the foil and banana leaf. Turn off the oven heat.
10. Slide it back into the oven for another 5 minutes. This allows the moisture and trapped steam to evaporate.
11. Serve and enjoy.
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