Spiced salmon with coconut sambal and cucumber salad

This is my latest recipe for Borough Market. The dish was designed for publication alongside the Friendly Games up in Glasgow. I titled it ‘Commonwealth spiced salmon’ – the idea being that it’s a bit of a Western mash up between Malay, Sri Lankan, Mauritian flavours … which pretty means it’s also probably a bit Australasian. So, all in all, perfectly appropriate for the moment.

Convenient names and labels aside, what it actually is, is big chunks of great salmon, marinaded in coconut milk and a handful of mixed spices, quickly griddled and served on top of a simple, slightly fiery but also refreshing coconut sambal and cucumber salad.

The dish is super easy, not particularly time consuming and, I think, extremely flavoursome. I really like it. I hope you do too. You could cook up some rice to go with it, though I don’t think it’s really necessary.

Recipe below the pictures.

Salmon in spicy coconut marinade

coconut sambal and cucumber salad

Spiced salmon skewers

Spiced salmon with coconut sambal and cucumber salad

For the salmon skewers
  • 500g salmon fillet, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 10g (5 tsp) Spice Mountain Mauritius Masala*
  • 140g good quality coconut milk, full fat
  • 4 long metal or wooden kebab skewers
For the sambal and cucumber salad
  • 40g (half a medium) red onion, diced as finely as you possibly can
  • 80g desiccated coconut
  • 120g good quality coconut milk, full fat
  • 2g (1 tsp) chilli powder
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 handfuls of picked coriander leaves

* This is a particular blend available at a Borough Market stall called Spice Mountain. I highly recommend them for your spices (no one’s paid me to say that …). But if you’ve no time or inclination to get exactly this mix from them, half a tea spoon each of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, ginger, chillies, mustard seeds, and a few fenugreek and curry leaves will do the trick.

Put the spices and the coconut milk in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the salmon, mix again ensuring all sides of the fish pieces are covered, cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

When you’re nearly ready to eat, make the sambal and cucumber salad.

Combine the finely diced onion, desiccated coconut, coconut milk, chilli powder and fish sauce. Squeeze the juice from half of the lime in and mix. Peel the cucumber and slice it in half lengthways. Scoop out the watery seeds with a tea spoon, then slice across each length to create crescents about half a cm thick. Add these and the coriander to the coconut and mix well. Divide between four plates or bowls.

Put a griddle pan on your hottest hob and turn it up as high as you can. Let the pan get smoking hot as you put the cold salmon cubes onto kebab skewers. Then cook the salmon for 45-60 seconds on each of the four sides, so that they’re well coloured on the outside, but still blushing pink in the middle.

Remove from the heat once all four sides are coloured, squeeze the remaining half a lime over the top, and place one skewer on each of the sambal salads.

I enjoyed this as a relatively light, summer supper. But you could definitely serve with rice – you could even use leftover coconut milk in the cooking liquid.