I created this recipe in honor of a dear friend who is battling cancer and following a very specific dietary regime: strictly organic produce, nuts and seeds. Absolutely no processed foods including sauces or condiments, no dairy, no sugar of any kind, no gluten, no grains…you get the picture. The only non vegan foods allowed? Wild salmon, organic free range eggs and grass fed beef liver. I was having her for dinner and eggs were out, since I had made her shakshuka the previous time she came over, and grass-fed beef liver was not happening because, well, it’s pretty hard to find actually! Only our friends at Gonzalo Kosher Meat stock it, and I hadn’t pre-ordered in time. So wild salmon it was.
Anyone who regularly shops for quality groceries in Hong Kong will tell you that there is almost no hope on the chilled wild salmon front. We mostly get the frozen Canadian or Alaskan sockeye fillets and they really don’t work for a good pan fried or oven grilled piece of fish. After defrosting, the fillets are somewhat chewy and on the drier side, as they have less fat than the farmed kind. I needed a recipe that involved slow cooking, to coax that Omega 3-filled goodness out.
Inspiration hit when my friend said she was encouraged to consume the equivalent of one can of coconut milk a day. I could make a creamy stew! The coconut milk would help to soften the salmon beautifully. But how to flavour it without coconut aminos, or tamari or curry paste or chicken stock? Where there’s a will, there’s a way folks! Celery and tomato provide that much needed umami hit and pumpkin offers its rich sweetness for a satisfying, layered flavour profile. This one-pot dish was such a hit it is now on weekly rotation for family dinner. It is warming and luscious and oh so nourishing. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.
Wild Salmon & Pumpkin Stew
Serves 4 – Prep Time: 15 mins, Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 2-3 stalks chopped celery (200 grams)
- 1 peeled and chopped medium brown onion (175 grams)
- 3 chopped medium tomatoes (300 grams)
- 1 medium large pumpkin peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces (400 grams) – we went with Japanese
- 2 cans coconut milk (approx. 800 ml) – we like Waitrose Organic or Native Harvest, available at most good supermarkets
- 3-4 defrosted wild salmon fillets, de-skinned and cut into 1-2 inch chunks (400 grams) – Green Dot Dot stores stock both Alaskan and Canadian consistently
- sea salt (like Maldon) or Himalayan pink salt to taste
- ground white pepper to taste
- juice of 1 large or 2 small limes (1.5 tbsp)
- extra virgin olive oil (pure ghee and coconut oil both work as substitutes)
- 1 cup homemade vegetable broth (optional; use chicken if you are not strict)
- cooked brown rice & chopped coriander leaves/stems (for serving)
- Add a few glugs of olive oil to a Dutch oven or other large sturdy pan, throw in the celery and the onion and cook on low to medium heat until both are translucent.
- Throw in the tomatoes, pumpkin, salmon, coconut milk, broth if using and a large pinch of salt and cook on medium heat for a good 15-20 minutes.
- Add in lime juice, more salt (you really need the salt to balance out the coconut and pumpkin’s sweetness) and white pepper to taste, then simmer for another ten minutes on low heat.
- Turn off the heat once it is a stewy consistency: the tomatoes should have dissolved and the pumpkin should be very soft. Make sure to keep tasting and adjust the seasoning if need be.
Serve in bowls over steamed brown rice and top off with chopped coriander.
Image Credit: Green Queen.