I recently realized that it has been quite a while since I last did anything with seafood which is kind of disappointing considering how much I enjoy it. In order to resolve the problem I pulled out this idea for a Vietnamese style caramel salmon banh mi which has been on the back of my mind for even longer. When I first came across the idea of using caramel in a savoury dish in Vietnamese cuisine I was immediately curious and tried it only to be surprised at how well it really does work! I have been using the Vietnamese style caramel sauce ever since, using it in a number of dishes and I figured that it would go really well on creamy salmon and that that would go well in a tasty banh mi sandwich!
This recipe starts out by simmering sugar and water in a pan until it turns a deep golden brown when you add some more liquid to turn the thickened caramel into a sauce. The sauce is then seasoned with fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, shallots and chilies for some heat. Really at this point you could throw anything into the sauce and it would come out amazing but this time it was salmon.
The moist, tender and buttery salmon goes so well in the caramel sauce! It is just packed with flavour and the spicy heat from the birds eye chili is perfect. Of course, things only get better when you put the caramel salmon into a banh mi sandwich with cucumber, jalapenos, pickled daikon radish and carrots along with mayo and plenty of fresh cilantro!
One thing that I did not count on was just how big these sandwiches were going to be! Open wide!
Vietnamese Caramel Salmon Banh Mi
Sweet and savoury Vietnamese caramel salmon in a banh mi stuffed with pickles carrots and daikon radish cucumber, jalapenos and cilantro.
- 1 baguette, cut into 4 sandwich sized lengths or 4 long buns, sliced in half
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 pound Vietnamese caramel salmon (see below)
- 1/4 cup pickled daikon radish
- 1/4 cup pickled carrots
- 1/2 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeno or birds eye chilies, sliced
- 1 large handful cilantro
- Assemble sandwiches and enjoy.
Vietnamese Caramel Salmon
Moist, tender and creamy salmon cooked in a sweet and savoury Vietnamese caramel sauce.
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 lime, juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 birds eye chili, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 1 pound salmon, deboned and cut into large chunks
- Heat the water and sugar over medium heat and simmer until it turns a deep golden brown.
- Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, and water and carefully add it to the pan, then heat until the caramel dissolves.
- Add the chili, garlic and shallots and simmer until tender, about a minute.
- Add the salmon and simmer until cooked, about 2-3 minutes per side and set aside.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer the sauce until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
- Serve the salmon along with the reduced and thickened sauce poured over it.