Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lemon-scented golden rice and poached salmon

I recently got a message from one of my readers (Yes,  I am kind of a big deal now. People send me personal messages and stuffs. With this trajectory, sooner or later, I should start receiving something physically tangible.) The email asked me my go-to recipes when my in-laws visit. After reading the message again to make sure that we are referring the same group of people, I had to laugh at myself for my obvious disqualifications for the question. I am single, and my only familiarity with in-law comes from watching Ashton Kutcher and Mindy Kailing in chick flicks and romantic sitcoms.

But, I am going to just ignore my inexperience and answer the message anyway. My advice for cooking for in-laws or, in fact, anyone whom you don’t like much but have to impress anyway, is to keep the dinner fancy without going extravagant. In other words, a good “in-law” dinner should make your guests feel like you have been slaving away in a labor camp to welcome their arrival (Let’s face it. We all like being the Simba the lion-king of the party), without actually putting your sanity and saving account in danger.

This “lemon-scented golden rice with poached salmon” exactly carries out the philosophy I laid down above. It’s a beautiful, light dish with a lot of characters. Turning white rice into yellow rice is not hard, but it definitely brings out finesse in your entree. Salmon similarly imparts maximal lavishness to the party with minimal effort. Finally garnishing with sliced lemons and crisped salmon skin warns your in-laws that you not only survive challenges but, in fact, crave them. I hope this dish with many fierce qualities entices you to try it. If you want to thank me for my opinions and recipes, you can do so by sending me chocolate on Feb 14th and December 31st.

Servings: about 6 people

Ingredients for Golden Rice and Poached Salmon
  • 2 cups of white rice
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
  • 1 big red onion (sliced)
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 lbs. of salmon
  • 4 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 3 cups of chopped cilantro
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of half-lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper

  • Wash the rice thoroughly until the water turns clear.
  • To measure how much water you need, use the rule of finger – while touching the surface of the rice in your rice cooker, and fill up the vessel with water until the water level reaches the first joint of your finger. I don't put any salt here because I can never judge how salty the rice will turn out. Besides, we are gonna season at the end after mixing with fish anyway. If you are one of those gifted ones with a knack for how much salt to put, congratulations, you may do that.
  • Put in turmeric powder, four cloves of smashed garlic, and onion slices along with the rice, and cook according to your rice cooker instructions.
  • In the meantime, bring half a gallon of water up to a boil, along with garlic and a handful of salt.
  • Skin the salmon, and poach only the meat part covered for exactly 8 minutes. Make sure that your salmon is fully immersed.
  • After the salmon is cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes, and then flake the fish by using two forks. Don’t worry if the core still contains a touch of pink, the residual heat from rice continues to cook the meat.
  • Mix the beautiful salmon flakes with the golden rice. Add fish sauce, lemon, cilantro, and sugar and mix again.
  • Garnish with more cilantro, paprika (to echo paprika in crispy salmon skin) sliced lemons, and crispy salmon skin (see below for recipe).

Ingredients for salmon skin
  • Salmon skin
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Honestly, I don’t really measure the ingredients for this because it will be served as a garnish and the crispy texture matters more than how it tastes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree.
  • Line the baking sheet with a parchment paper for the easy removal later.
  • Lay the salmon skin, skin side down. Rub with spices all over.
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the skin turns crispy.

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