Spicy Salmon Salad (Laab Salmon) ลาบปลาแซลมอน
Every time I had salmon sashimi, I’d always think to myself, “This would be SO good if I laab it!” So finally I tried out my culinary dream, and it’s even better than I thought it would be! Spicy, herbaceous, fresh, light, healthy, gluten-free, not to mention it is a show stopper when you bring it out to the table!
In this video I also review how to make toasted rice powder (or what I call “magic powder”) which is the key ingredient in a laab. Most importantly, make sure you use good quality, sushi-grade salmon that is super fresh for this dish!
Serves 2-3 as an appetizer
Toasted Rice Powder
- At least 1 Tbsp of Thai glutinous rice or jasmine rice (see note)
- Kaffir lime leaves, about 1 leaf per 2 Tbsp of rice (optional, see note)
Note: You only need 1 Tbsp of toasted rice powder for this recipe, but I like to make a bit extras so I can keep it for another use. To flavour your rice, you can also use thinly sliced lemongrass and/or galangal.
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 ½ Tbsp Lime juice
- 2-3 tsp water (if serving on its own, use 3 tsp, if serving with rice or lettuce, use 2)
- 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
- 2 inches lemongrass, very thinly sliced
- Roasted chili flakes, to taste (see note)
- 175g sushi-grade raw salmon
- 3 sprigs cilantro or 2 leaves sawtooth coriander
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 4-5 mint leaves, julienned
- 1 small sprig dill, picked into small pieces (optional)
- 2 Tbsp red onion or shallots, short julienne
- Red peppers, short julienne (optional)
- 1 Tbsp toasted rice powder
Toasted rice powder: In a dry wok or saute pan, combine the rice and the kaffir lime leaves (or any herbs you’re using). Turn the heat to medium high and stir the rice constantly until the grains are deep golden brown and the herbs are dry. Transfer 1 Tbsp of the rice and a small piece of the herbs to a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder and pound or blitz until you have a fairly fine powder, but still with a little grittiness. (Do not grind any more than you are using. Keep the remaining toasted rice in an airtight container for future use.)
Make the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Slice the salmon thinly and arrange the pieces flat on a plate, making sure the pieces are touching.
Combine the herbs, onion and red bell pepper in a small bowl.
Stir the toasted rice powder into the dressing, then pour most of the dressing over the herbs, reserving a little bit for a final drizzle.
Toss the herbs and place on top of the salmon, arranging it however you like. Pour the reserved dressing over the rest of the salmon. Tip: you don’t need to use all of the dressing if it looks like too much; you can always add more later.
Garnish with some extra herbs and red onion, then serve immediately. (The lime juice will continue to “cook” the salmon like a ceviche if you don’t serve it quickly, so don’t assemble the dish until ready to serve!)