Butter Salmon

Butter Salmon

Based on one of India’s most popluar dishes, Butter Chicken (or murgh makhani), this recipe substitutes salmon for the usual chicken. It’s a rich, vibrant dish and only needs plain rice or Indian flat bread to accompany it. Don’t be put off by the rather long list of ingredients, the dish goes together quickly. Since the sauce and salmon are cooked separately, the sauce can be made a day or two ahead, refrigerated and reheated to serve when the salmon is ready to serve.

The aromatic spice mixture garam masala is a blend ground spices and can include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom, nutmeg and bay leaves. Every household in India has their own favorite blend. In the U.S. it’s available in the spice section of most major supermarkets.

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup thick plain full fat yogurt
1 cup light cream (reserve ¼ cup for garnish)
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon peanut oil
4 fresh boneless salmon filets or steaks
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt & pepper
sliced green onions or chopped fresh coriander, for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, 1 teaspoon garam masala, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato puree, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in ¾ cup of the cream and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the cornstarch with the water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until sauce comes to a boil and is thickened. Set aside and keep warm while cooking the salmon.

Season the salmon filets or steaks on both sides with salt, pepper and garam masala. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook salmon until lightly browned on each side but not quite cooked through. Remove from the saute pan and add to the saucepan with the warm sauce. Over low heat, gently simmer the salmon in the sauce for 5 minutes to finish the cooking. Serve with a generous amount of sauce over the top and drizzled with the reserved cream. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with plain rice.

Serves 4

  1. Your recipe sounds great. I’m looking forward to trying it soon. Jim

  2. What a great recipe thanks

  3. I love Indian food! This dish looks great! Would love to try it with salmon or chicken. 🙂

    • applec
    • February 8th, 2010

    I’ve never heard of making salmon this way. What a terrific recipe. We eat that fish a lot so this is sure to make it to our table. Great job! Looks fantastic.

    • foododelmundo
    • February 7th, 2010

    Love Indian food, but often hate to make it because they usually always call for whole seeds and toasting and grinding and, and, and…… So I must thank you for this – straightforward, no fuss, recipe and its versatility! ~Mary

  4. beautiful flavors, who would have thought to use salmon? I have had a similar dish with the chicken and seeing this just makes my mouth water…

  5. A very intriguing dish, not familiar with the flavors but sounds like something to experiment with.. dont know some of these ingredients..you are just so versatile! This really looks like its perfect for this cooler weather here!

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