Thai Influenced but Latin American in origin, this Larb Salmon Ceviche is going to kick your tastebuds into maximum gear before leaving them quivering in frenzied anticipation! You’ll be amazed by the multitudinous sensations with every forkful – hot, sour and sweet, all wrapped up in wave after wave of umami packed bliss, sending a tingle right down to your toes!
This recipe was inspired by one of my favourite restaurants in Bangkok, Audrey Cafe & Bistro, (next picture) a delightful cafe that has been designed with Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s in mind! I was speechless when I came across it in Thonglor Soi 11, Bangkok. So out of place, yet so perfect!
They have a variety of spicy salads, vegetarian and meat alike; one of them, Larb Salmon Sashimi, blew my mind. I love all things seafood and I love sashimi! That particular dish was made up of raw salmon topped with a lovely piquant sauce. The dish stayed in my mind and yesterday I finally got the opportunity to replicate it since we got back from our travels.
What is Larb Salmon Ceviche?
Larb (or Laab)
Something we have a lot at home, it’s a cooked salad brimming with herbs and chillies, the national dish of Laos and is also eaten in North Eastern Thailand, in the Isan region. I’ll talk more about that and the different types of Larb in an actual post on it.
Pronounced suh-vee-chay (or suh-bee-chay in Spain), this is a dish of raw fish or seafood cured in citrus juice, whether lime or lemon, and flavoured with herbs and chilli. My first taste of ceviche was actually on a small island in the Philippines, in the early 90s on one of my SCUBA diving trips. Filipino food has a huge Spanish and Latin American influence, having formed part of Spain’s past foreign empire known as “New Spain”. I have a recipe here for Shiitake Ceviche, if you fancy a vegetarian version.
I’m calling my recipe ceviche because our Larb marinade is heavy on the lime juice and I preferred the idea of “cooking” the meat in the juice. It’s a very simple marinade, you’ll see.
Not into Raw Fish?
Don’t fret. Just lightly sear the salmon pieces until cooked, at the same time simmer the marinade. Serve the salmon on a bed of salad leaves and pour the warm marinade all over.
Is very forgiving! And very open to experimentation. I feel the lime juice is necessary for that South East Asian identity but lemon juice can be used too. If you have access to Thai basil leaves, they would go great in here, as would Kaffir Lime leaves, sliced thinly. If you don’t like fish sauce, use half the amount of light soy sauce. Click to read more on the different varieties of soy sauce.
The most important thing about the marinade is, taste it as you go. Hot enough, sour enough, sweet enough (or too sweet)? Get it right to suit your preference, my recipe here is a base for you. If this is your first time playing with South East Asian (Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese, etc) flavours, then follow it to the letter as your starting point.
Toasted Rice Powder
This is quite a common topping on salads, soups and dipping sauces in South East Asia, click here for the super duper quick and easy recipe. You could always substitute this with crushed toasted peanuts, also a common Thai/Vietnamese topping.
Good luck and more importantly, have a blast! Let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment below!
See you guys real soon,
- 2 salmon fillets, about 250g - 300g in total weight, skinless
- ground toasted rice
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- half - 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- small handful fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 3 spring onions (scallions)
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves only
- dash of freshly ground black pepper
- Let's make the marinade first. Finely chop all the herbs and place in a small bowl. (It makes sense to chop the herbs before the fish, unless you use different boards for meat and vegetables; my chopping boards all go in the dishwasher).
- Add all the other marinade ingredients and stir thoroughly. Set aside.
- Now let's work on the salmon. Remove any dark meat on the underside of the salmon. We're going for pure orange flesh here, for the best taste.
- Cut up the salmon into little pieces, about 1cm squared cubes (about half inch cubes) and place in a shallow bowl.
- Pour the marinade all over the salmon and mix well.
- Cover tightly with a cling film and place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes for the fish to cure slightly and the flavours to develop. The marinade has a potent aroma, so if you don't like your fridge "stinking up", cover well!
- It'll be ready to eat after the 5 minutes. Don't marinate for more than an hour or the fish will be "cooked" too much by the lime juice and will fall apart and have a cotton-y texture.
- These will serve 4 as a small starter, bearing in mind that salmon is filling and this dish packs a punch in its flavouring. Serve it on a bed of green leaves for a bigger starter.
- Serve it as in the picture here or in tiny little wine or dessert glasses.