Tamarind is one of my go-to ingredients for sauces or glazes. It’s practically calorie-free and I never tire of its sweet-and-sour vibes. I discovered naam jim jaew, a chilli-garlic tamarind sauce, in Bangkok, where it’s served alongside kai yang chicken. It works with any grilled meat or vegetables. Keep the skin on the salmon while it grills as it acts as a barrier and protects the fish from drying out.
In a small saucepan, heat the oil and slowly sauté the garlic until it goes golden, about 2–3 minutes. Add the tamarind, 100 ml (3½ fl oz) water, the fish sauce, chilli flakes, sugar and soy. Simmer for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat.
Preheat an outdoor grill or chargrill pan. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the tamarind sauce over the fish and sprinkle over a few chilli slices.
Grill the salmon, skin side down, over low direct heat and with the hood closed if using the outdoor grill, for about 7–8 minutes. It’s better if the centre is slightly pink and juicy rather than overcooked. The skin may stick a little to the grill, but don’t worry as you will be discarding it anyway.
Peel the skin from the salmon and place the flesh on a platter. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and remaining red chilli. Serve with the remaining tamarind sauce and steamed rice.
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