Vietnamese salmon "burgers"

Salmon Cakes

This is a recipe I wanted to share with you since a long time but somehow it was impossible to get a decent photo.
Well last week I tried again and beside a lovely dinner I also ended up with a decent picture.
These little cakes or burgers are my favourite food a t the moment, they are incredibly yummy and not a big effort.

The Nuoc Cham

Start with making the "nuoc cham " the traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce which should be on every Vietnamese table . This recipe is my absolute favourite, it gives you a very balanced  "nuoc cham" which I'd almost want to drink. I recommend making at least 3 times the amount. It can be kept in the fridge for a week.

You'll need:

  • 1 ts rice vinegar
  • 3 ts sugar
  • 1 birds-eye chilli, finely chopped without the seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves squashed
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbs fish sauce

Mix the sugar , vinegar and water in a pan. Bring to boil and let cool down.
Add the garlic, chilli and lime juice. Then add fish sauce.

The Caramel Sauce - Thang Nuoc Dung

You'll need:

  • 250 gr palm sugar or other sugar

Melt the sugar on very low heat. When the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat.
While stirring the sugar constantly let it caramelise until it turns brown. As soon as it starts to smoke take it of the heat and add 180 ml hot water. Be careful the sugar is very hot and adding the water will be quite "explosive".
In case the sugar crystallises again, put it back on the stove an let simmer on low heat until it dissolves again.

The caramel keeps a long time in the fridge.

The Burgers

You'll need:

  • 500 gr organic or msc salmon
  • 50 gr shallots finely chopped
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs fishsauce
  • 1 tbs caramel sauce
  • 5 tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • freshly ground pepper
  • rice noodles or soba noodles

Roughly chop the salmon. Add the chopped shallots, sesame oil, the caramel sauce, the chopped cilantro and fresh ground pepper.

Make little balls and gently press them into burger shape.
Fry briefly in a hot pan. Don't over cook them they are nicer on the raw side.

While the burgers are in the pan, cook the noodles. I like soba noodles (these take a little longer than rice noodles so start cooking them before the fish goes into the pan) but if you prefer rice noodles that's fine too.

Serve with fresh fresh herbs (dill, cilantro, mint and thai basil). As with the Cha Ca La Vong, take a bit of everything and mix in the bowl.

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Chinese Greens

We came home from Sardinia with several kilo of lime, (from just one tree) and this after 3 weeks of Daiquiri in the evening sun, only to discover that in the garden we were drowning in pak choy or tsatsoi (don't know which one it is we have). So my friend did some research and found the perfect recipe in Nigel Slaters "Tender". Almost all of the ingredients grow abundantly in our garden at the moment. All I needed to buy were shrimp and ginger and lemon grass.

We have cilantro, chillies, pak choy, thai basil and the limes. We even had a few "spring" onions left (lungo di firenze type).

So I went home and tried this recipe and I have to say it's probably one of the best asian recipe I cooked so far.
Vietnamese style, just how I like it, light with a lot of fragrance. Best of all it makes a really fast and easy dinner.

You'll need:

  • 150 gr chinese greens such as tatsoi or pak choy
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass
  • 1 medium hot chillie
  • 2 spring onions
  • 3 cm peeled
  • 15 - 20 raw shrimps
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 50 ml lime juice
  • 50 ml fish sauce
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • a good handful of coriander leaves
  • a good handful of thai basil leaves

Start with chopping all the ingredients you will need. Once you start everything goes quite fast and you don't want to have to chop things then.
Wash the chinese green and chop roughly.
Peel the ginger and chop into small sticks.
Remove the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass and finely chop the tender heart. Chop the chilli and the spring onions.

Warm the oil in a frying pan. Then add the ginger, chillies, spring onions and the lemongrass. Stir -fry for a couple of minutes. When the ginger starts to turn golden add the prawns. When they turn opaque and colour lightly, add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.
When all is sizzling and fragrant, add the greens. Turn them in the pan. Once they are tender add the coriander and basil leaves and serve immediately.

Serve with a bowl of rice.

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Refreshing Spicy Summer Dish

Vietnamese or Thai food is ideal for hot summer days. Here's a recipe that serves as a basis for all kinds of dishes. We usually use it with shrimps and / or fish, but it works just as well with veg. We never tried meat, but I don't see why that shouldn't work also.

Thai Basil

Ingredients (serves 2-3 people):

  • 3-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1-3 fresh small thai chili
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1 fresh ginger root (roughly sized 60 x 30 mm)
  • 1 fresh lime
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 3 teaspoons thai or malaysian curry or spice mixture
  • 20 - 50 leaves of fresh thai basil (depending on the size...)
  • 10 - 20 leaves of fresh mint (again, depending on the size)
  • 1 handful of unsalted peanuts
  • Your choice of fish, shrimps, other seafood or alternatively vegetables


  1. Peel and chop the garlic cloves into small bits.
  2. Chop the chili into thin slices, don't throw away the seeds, - use them. Wash your hands thoroughly after this!!!
  3. If you have large basil and mint leaves, rip them up into smaller bits and put them in a bowl to have them at hand when needed.
  4. roast the peanuts in a pan just like that, no oil or fat needed for this. Keep stirring until nicely brown. Put them to the side and have them ready for later.
  5. Chop your fish or vegetables into dices (maybe 30 x 30 mm) or make sure your shrimps are unfrozen and ready to go in the pan.


  1. Put the oil in the pan and turn on the heat (1 notch below maximum)
  2. While the oil heats up, you can already add the garlic, chili, cane sugar, salt and the curry or spice. Let it sizzle while stirring until the garlic starts to turn brown.
  3. Throw fish and / or seafood or alternatively vegetables in the pan - cook for about 10 minutes (depending on your choice). Depending what type of fish you chose, it may crumble into tiny bits - that's just fine, especially when using fish alongside shrimps.
  4. Put what you've cooked into the bowls you will serve the food in, add thai basil, mint and peanuts to the servings, squeeze lime over it and mix it up a bit. Remember that you're using the basil and the mint more like a salad than a herb in terms of quantity, so give each serving plenty of it. Enjoy!

Tip: Goes well with the "Sensational Soup" as starters and a green papaya salad alongside.

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Sensational soup

Vegetable broth with raw red and green vegetables

I had this soup at the "Suppe Lädeli" in Zürich the other day. I never had a soup like that, so refreshing, so different.
Tried to cook it myself last night and it turned out very nice and best of all it's a very quick dinner.

Make a vegetable broth, or take a ready made one that you like or maybe how still have some frozen one in your freezer. A some freshly  grated ginger. Cut some cucumber, avocado and tomatoes into cubes.

Serve the broth with the veggies, 2 drops of fresh lemon and lot's of fresh cilantro. You can also ad some cooked white rice.

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Quick asian something

This is one of our basics. Fast and delicious, perfect for one of the way to many working days when supper has to be quick. It turns out different every time depending on what is around.

There are a few basics though:

Brown rice
Salmon ( could also be mackerel or eel )
Soya sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sesame oil

Cook the rice, fry the salmon and the onions, cut the cucumber and the avocado into cubes, mix everything together, season with some sesame oil, serve in a big bowl.
Now that's fast isn't it?

Beautiful additions to this dish:

Fresh shiitake mushrooms ( almost a must ) fried
Fresh lime to season
Auster sauce
Thai basil
China cabbage and carrots fried

The sauces go wonderfully with this dish but be careful not to put to much into it, otherwise it get's slimy as my husband said yesterday.... charming isn't he?

Related Entries:
Tuna on shiitake mushrooms and tomatoes
Beetroot marinated salmon with 2 kinds of beetroot
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bali report

Welcome to Bali where the swell is good and the food is cheap and tasty!!!!!

Snapper BBQ  with pimiento lemongrass sauce.

Squid indian oignons. 

coffee or cacao ?

On the way to Ubud the capital of art and food

Spring rolls ,crab cake and randang with white and red rice + a delicious passionfruit tiramisu (sorry,forgot to take picture), everything with the beer for 30sfr. For there its really expensive but it was a incredible restaurant.

Bumbu Bali is one of the best restaurant for balinese food and the chef cook is a suisse guy :) Heinz von Holzen.

Green papaya salade whit shrimps and other stuff.

Randang and squid curry

Snapper in banana leaf with fresh coco, ginger and lemongrass with a chicken lemongrass.

Ku-de-ta is a very styled bar lounge and restaurant in the front of the beach in seminyak. very design and good food.

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Japanese food culture

All you fans of Japanes food and culture: don't miss this great post by Sooishi!
japanese chiffon cake photo by sooishi

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japanese curry with egg


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food report from jp


bamboo + seaweed

NIKUMAN - steamed stuffed meat. similar to dampling

HAMO Oshi Zushi - hamo : like eel from the sea

Unagi donburi - Unagi is eel

Kakiage tempura

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bento box from jp


bento lunch for one person, 2100 yen!

today's lunch


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