Friday, July 1, 2011

Coconut Salmon

You meet the nicest people sometimes in the most unexpected of circumstances or places.  And is it not refreshing to meet such lovely individuals with lofty ideals and thoughts when you least expect it?  I met one such person this last week.  I have had a garden shed which has been accumulating garden equipment and products for the last eight years, not to mention dust and cobwebs too.  So I decided it was time to do a major clean up of the place – dispose of what is not used or needed and rearrange everything else.  I knew it was a huge task and I needed outside help.  So I contacted one of the work agencies to see if I could get someone to come and help.  Help arrived in the form of Nestor – a Filipino man I was told who would be at my place at the appointed hour and time.

On the expected day Nestor did arrive.  A bulky man – too bulky if you ask me for a Filipino who are usually very small built and petite.  I wondered how such a big man would be able to remove things, move things around, dust, clean and sort everything back in place.  So I decided to help.  This gave me an opportunity to get to know Nestor more.  He had moved to Belgium 9 years ago with his wife and two children leaving his two older children in Philippines to finish their university.  An electrical engineer by profession, he could not work in that line any more because of the language barrier.  But he was still a very happy man – he earned an honest living and was a pastor at the local church. 

He was someone who enjoyed doing what he did – no matter what the job, had Faith and hope in a better world and was a good conservationist.  We spent the next 6 hours working and cleaning and chatting.  By the end, my shed was tidy, I had disposed off half of the contents of the shed and met a good person on the way.

Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4


2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon table salt
4 salmon steaks, about 175 grams each
3 tablespoons corn oil
1 onion, chopped
2 fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1” piece ginger, grated
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
¾ cup coconut milk


  1. In a small bowl, mix half the cumin with the chilli powder, turmeric, vinegar and salt.  
  2. Place the salmon in a single layer in a non-metallic dish and rub all over with the paste.  Cover and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.  
  3. Heat oil in a wide, deep-sided frying pan and fry the onion, chillies, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes.  
  4. Scrape the mixture into a food processor or blender and process to a paste.  Use a hand-held blender if you prefer.  
  5. Return the paste to the pan.  Add coriander and remaining cumin.  
  6. Now pour in the coconut milk, stirring constantly.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  
  7. Add the salmon steaks and spoon the sauce over them.  
  8. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the fish is tender.  Serve with spring onion rice.

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