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Thai-Inspired Salmon Clay Pot | Ob Pla Salmon | อบปลาแซลมอน

Thai-Inspired Salmon Clay Pot | Ob Pla Salmon | อบปลาแซลมอน

Where do you look for inspiration in the kitchen?

I find that it’s all around — in reading cookbooks, in talking with the boyfriend, even in learning new Thai words and phrases.  But the inspiration for this dish came from another, somewhat less likely source – – a Taiwanese restaurant.

 Thai-Inspired Salmon Clay Pot | Ob Pla Salmon | อบปลาแซลมอน

A few weeks ago, the boyfriend and I were enjoying a date night at this restaurant and I saw a “salmon clay pot” listed on their menu.  Since I’d just discovered clay pot cooking and fallen in love with the Thai shrimp and glass noodle clay pot, I decided to order their clay pot and compare the two.

Well, it turns out they were nothing alike.  For one, the Taiwanese salmon clay pot was just that — salmon, without any other main ingredients.  But it was really yummy, and it surprised me by having some hints of Thai flavors.  So, taking my lead from the Thai people who are masters at adapting dishes from other cuisines into their own (think massaman curry, gang hang lay, Thai sukiyaki), I came home and started working on my own Thai-inspired version of this dish.

 Thai-Inspired Salmon Clay Pot | Ob Pla Salmon | อบปลาแซลมอน

Part of what made the restaurant’s clay pot so good was that they flash fried the salmon pieces before cooking them in the clay pot.  So I did the same.  Then I layered Thai basil and slices of ginger and garlic with the fried salmon before topping everything with a sweet soy sauce reminiscent of the sauce used to made pad see ew.  I closed the lid to the clay pot and let it work its magic to bring all of these flavors together.  The result was great, but the boyfriend and I both thought that it wasn’t quite “Thai enough”.

Thai-Inspired Salmon Clay Pot | Ob Pla Salmon | อบปลาแซลมอน

For the next try, the boyfriend suggested making a paste of the ginger and garlic so that their flavors would really shine through.  Since pastes are extensively used throughout Thai cooking, I decided to give it a try.

It turns out that this was the key that transformed the dish from good to awesome Thai-inspired home cooking.  The resulting flavors were bold and really popped, yet they still all worked well together.  And beyond the flavors, it was fun to take inspiration from Thai people and put my own spin on this Taiwanese dish.

Thai-Inspired Salmon Clay Pot | Ob Pla Salmon | อบปลาแซลมอน

 

Thai-Inspired Salmon Clay Pot | Ob Pla Salmon | อบปลาแซลมอน

Makes 2 servings

Thai-Inspired Salmon Clay Pot | Ob Pla Salmon | อบปลาแซลมอน

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger
  • 1 cup salmon pieces, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1/4 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • canola oil for frying

Instructions

    Prepare the Ingredients:
  1. Combine the soy sauces, oyster sauce, and water and set aside.
  2. Peel the garlic and ginger and pound into a coarse paste with mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  3. Remove the skin and bones from the salmon and cut into 1" cubed pieces.
  4. Pour enough oil into a small pot until it reaches approximately 1" high. Heat to medium-high heat and flash-fry your salmon cubes (the salmon does not need to be cooked through because it will continue to cook in the clay pot)
  5. Make the Clay Pot:
  6. Put half of the ginger/garlic mixture on the bottom of the clay pot.
  7. Add the flash-fried salmon cubes and top with Thai basil leaves.
  8. Add the rest of the ginger/garlic mixture on top. Pour the sauce on top and close the lid.
  9. Place the clay pot on stove top with a heat diffuser and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until the flavors are completely infused into the salmon. Serve with rice and enjoy!

4 comments… add one
  • Ramona January 26, 2014, 11:52 pm

    I love to eat, as well as cook, Thai food, but I’m pretty sure that the flavors and cooking styles that you have described here belong to or originate in Thailand – not Taiwan. Taiwan is considered by most to be a part of China now.

  • L A Cochran April 30, 2013, 4:38 pm

    That looks SO good!!!! Yum!

  • Christopher April 29, 2013, 12:46 pm

    This looks absolutely succulent! I’m going to try this recipe out tonight, with a few substitutions as I follow a primal diet. I think I’ll use coconut aminos instead of the soy and oyster sauce, add a slight bit of curry perhaps, and fry the salmon bites in either coconut oil or palm shortening. What do you think?

    • Rachel April 29, 2013, 3:15 pm

      Hi Christopher, I’m not familiar with coconut aminos, but it’s hard to go wrong with fried salmon :)

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