on Apr 20, 2018, Updated Aug 15, 2023
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The terrific combo of ingredients in this marinade give salmon a sweet, salty sour Thai vibrancy.
This salmon is vibrant with Thai flavors and delightfully simple to make. The marinade is just a simple combo of classic Thai ingredients: Fresh ginger, lemongrass, and fish sauce, along with some lime juice, garlic, and honey. In the oven, the marinade turns into a beautiful glaze. It’s one of those dishes (like most Thai dishes, in my opinion) that you Just. Can’t. Stop. Eating.
When I was a young cookbook editor, around 23 years old, two of the first books I was given to work on were written by a Thai chef named Vatcharin Bhumichitr. It didn’t take long for me to fall head over galangal in love with the flavors and dishes of Thai cooking. The brightest tastes, the smart blending of salty, sour, sweet, and spicy, the light hand with a number of ingredients in most of the recipes — I was smitten. I cooked my way through his books, and to this day, most of what I know about Thai cooking comes from this expert man’s teachings.
Table of Contents
This Thai Salmon recipe is a simple combo of classic Thai ingredients, poured over some salmon filets. The marinade turns into a beautiful glaze.Tweet This
- Salmon filets – Six skinless 8-ounce filets.
- Ginger – Fresh ginger is one of those essential ingredients when it comes to Thai cooking, adding a peppery lift.
- Lime juice – Another quintessential Thai ingredient. Like most juices, lime juice is always better when fresh-squeezed.
- Lemongrass – This tropical grass has hard, thin stalks that actually smell like lemon. It’s a great ingredient to have on hand for Thai cooking (also, try this lemongrass cocktail!)
- Honey – The sweetness of honey offsets the sour acidity of the lime juice in this marinade.
- Fish sauce – Fish sauce, or nam pla, is one of the most characteristic flavors of the Thai palate.
- Garlic – Minced garlic gives this marinade more of a bite. Garlic and ginger are twin spirits that complement one another so well that you rarely see one without the other in Asian cuisine.
- Cilantro – Optional to serve.
How to Make Thai Salmon
- Make the marinade: Place the ginger, lemongrass, lime juice, honey, fish sauce, and garlic in a bowl and mix.
- Marinate the salmon: Pour the marinade into a 9×13 baking pan and place the salmon filets in the pan, turning to coat them well with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Prep the oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. (The parchment paper is optional, but very helpful during clean up!)
- Cook the salmon: Roast the salmon for 10 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking, remembering that it will continue to cook a bit after it is removed from the oven. Serve hot, with cilantro if desired.
- If you want to make the marinade smoother, you can use a blender or a food processor.
- Although the recipe only calls for 30 minutes of marinating, you can actually marinate this salmon for up to 2 hours. Anything longer than that will alter the texture of the fish, making it soft.
- If you want to get an extra head start on cooking, or you want to repeat the same meal again later the same week, take any excess marinade and freeze it in a sealable, freezer-safe plastic bag. Let it thaw back into a liquid state before adding your salmon to the bag and marinating!
When you’re cooking with fish and seafood, you always want to prepare and eat it as quickly as possible. So if you’re storing it, make sure you use an airtight container and enjoy your leftovers within a few days.
According to the USDA, once your salmon is cooked, you’re going to want to eat it within 3 to 4 days. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this salmon dish once cooked; the texture won’t be as nice once defrosted.
You can marinate this salmon for up to 2 hours. Because there is lime juice in the marinade, that acidity will end up mushifying your salmon if you let it go too long.
Thai flavors — lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce — are the perfect pairing for salmon. Use them in a marinade by mincing ginger, garlic, and lemongrass finely and mixing them with lime juice, honey, and fish sauce.
Most of the flavors in this Thai salmon come from the fish sauce, the aromatic lemongrass, a squirt of refreshing lime juice, and the mixture of minced garlic and ginger.
If you’ve already started chopping up the ingredients for a good Thai marinade and you look in the fridge only to realize you don’t have lemongrass on hand, never fear! Just add a bit more minced garlic and a teaspoon of grated lemon zest. This hack gives you both a flavor and an aroma that approximates lemongrass.
What to Serve With Thai Salmon
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- Place the ginger, lemongrass, lime juice, honey, fish sauce, and garlic in a bowl and mix. If you want to make the marinade smoother, you can use a blender or a food processor.
- Pour the marinade into a 9×13 baking pan and place the salmon fillet in the pan, turning to coat them well with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. (The parchment paper is optional, but very helpful during clean up!)
- Roast the salmon for 10 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking, remembering that it will continue to cook a bit after it is removed from the oven. Serve hot, with cilantro if desired.