Pan-Asian Outdoor Eating Menu

1 July 2008

Teriyaki Salmon
ethically farmed salmon, sweet gingery glaze, thai sticky rice

Vietnamese Slaw
green pointed cabbage, organic carrots, english cucumber


Teriyaki Salmon
I don’t think it’s possible to get tired of the English summer. Maybe because it’s not overly warm, maybe because the humidity never reaches beads-of-sweat-on-your-arms levels, maybe because it’s so fleeting, maybe because I spend my working days in a basement, maybe because, for the first time in years, I have access to a garden. Whatever it is, it almost seems a crime against nature to eat indoors in good weather. This is an excellent menu for a close-to-the-kitchen kind of picnic since it’s easily plated and can get a little cold before serving. I think it would be nice vegetarian as well, with some tofu used in place of the salmon. I’m pretty sure I’ve read that marinating in vinegar isn’t supposed to be a good idea, breaking down the meat etc., but it seems to me that a 10 minutes didn’t do it any harm. However, maybe next time I should try lemon juice instead, or not marinate at all, just use as a sauce.

For me and TB, with enough for TB’s lunch:

  • 500g salmon fillet
  • 1 t oil
  • 2 T rich (dark) soy sauce
  • 2 T thin (regular) soy sauce
  • 1 T kejap mantis (sweet soy)
  • 2 T rice or other mild vinegar
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

Whisk together all ingredients but the salmon and oil. Adjust to taste, but don’t make it too sweet. It should be quite sharp. Pour over the salmon, in a shallow dish just large enough to hold the salmon.

Meanwhile cook sticky rice according to package instructions (my pack suggested cooking equal parts rice and water, covered, 8 minutes on high in a microwave and 5 minutes on medium, then letting stand 5 minutes. Surprisingly, it worked pretty well, tho I think a longer standing time would have improved the stickiness — what we ate after 5 minutes was still slightly goopy).

When the rice is cooked and standing, heat oil a heavy lidded skillet until hot but not smoking. Lift salmon out of marinate and carefully shake off most of the liquid. Throw into the pan (stand back), and allow to sear, about 30 seconds. Turn the heat to medium high, add marinade and cover. Cook about 5 minutes (make sure marinate is brought to a boil), depending on the thickness of your salmon, but be very careful not to over cook. Serve over the rice, with lots of extra sauce.

Vietnamese Slaw
Another great recipe, taken almost verbatim from this month’s Olive magazine. I make asian slaw all the time (eg), but in our quest to eat less processed food (brought about by this book), we’re trying to avoid low-fat mayonnaise. Thus, I was delighted to read that this recipe has no oil AND no mayo. It’s surprisingly fantastic and fresh tasting too, with fresh cilantro and mint from our tiny garden (3 strawberries and counting!). I made some substitutions to the original recipe because of different things I had on hand; because I also want to try it as written sometime, I’ve put the original ingredients in parentheses below.

For me and TB, with enough for my lunch:

  • 1 head green pointed cabbage (1/2 head chinese cabbage; 1/4 head summer cabbage)
  • 1/3 english cucumber (2 sticks celery)
  • 2 medium carrots (1 medium carrot)
  • 1 handful each mint and coriander leaves, chopped
  • 6 T cider vinegar (6 T rice vinegar)
  • 1 T brown sugar (2 t caster sugar)
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 1 chili, finely sliced

Mandolinize all the veggies, slicing the cabbage thinly and julienning the cukes and carrots. Add remaining ingredients and toss well until sugar dissolves. Let stand a couple of minutes before serving.


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