This delicious, Thai-influenced recipe yields perfect, medium-rare steaks after 10 minutes of steaming
1 ounce dried tamarind pulp
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
4 shallots, slivered lengthwise
2 tablespoons julienne strips peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, slivered lengthwise
1/4 cup palm sugar or light brown sugar
3 tablespoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
4 salmon steaks (each about 1 1/4 inches thick)
fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Place the tamarind in a small bowl, and pour 1/2 cup boiling water over it. Let sit for 30 minutes. Break up the tamarind in the water with your fingers. Put water and tamarind in a small saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on the tamarind solids with a wooden spoon.
2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Stir in the shallots, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until very aromatic. Stir in the palm sugar, 3 tablespoons nam pla, and 1/2 cup of the strained tamarind liquid, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Reserve.
3. Lay the salmon steaks on a lightly oiled plate that will fit into a Chinese bamboo steamer basket. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the reserved ginger-tamarind sauce on each side of each steak, and let marinate for 20 minutes.
4. Bring enough water to sit just below (but not touch) the steamer basket in a wok to a simmer. Place the plate in the basket, cover with the basket lid, and steam the salmon just until opaque, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Remove the basket from the wok and the plate from the basket. With a spatula carefully remove the salmon steaks to serving plates. Pour enough liquid from the steaming plate into the reserved sauce to reach the desired consistency.
5. Quickly reheat the sauce and spoon over the salmon. Garnish with the cilantro and serve hot.
Steaming times for fish are totally dependent on the thickness, not the weight...so measure your fish carefully. This delicious, Thai-influenced recipe yields perfect, medium-rare steaks after 10 minutes of steaming. Serves 4