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Tamarind Lemongrass Cured Alaska Salmon

Tamarind-Lemongrass Cured Alaska Salmon
Chef and entrepreneur Melissa King draws from classic Asian ingredients to add flavor and depth to this traditional and simple cured lox recipe.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: Cure overnight
  • Total Time: 48 hours
  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Yield: 1 fillet


  • 1 fillet (side) wild Alaska king or sockeye salmon (about 3 to 4lbs) skin on, scales and pin bones removed
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, fragrant root parts only, finely chopped
  • 5 Thai chilis, finely chopped
  • Grated zest from 3 limes
  • Grated zest from 2 oranges
  • 1 ounce unflavored vodka
  • 4 ounces jarred tamarind purée
Recipe courtesy of Chef Melissa King


  1. Step 1 Prep the salmon

    Pat the salmon dry on both sides. Place the salmon flesh side up on top of a double layer of plastic wrap.

  2. Step 2 Make the salt cure mixture

    In a medium bowl, combine kosher salt, sugar, lemongrass, chilis, and zest together and mix well. Rub the salmon with the mixture until completely covered and packed on the fillet.

    In a small bowl, stir the vodka together with the tamarind paste. It should be a pourable consistency similar to thin, runny honey. Add a tiny bit more vodka if necessary.

    Drizzle the vodka/tamarind mixture evenly onto the salmon with the salt and sugar mixture until all of it is absorbed into the salt.

  3. Step 3 Cure the salmon

    Wrap and cover the salmon in the double layer of plastic wrap. Place onto a sheet tray and weigh the fish down with flat, heavy items on top (e.g., baking dish with food cans). Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

    Baste with the juices every 12 hours or so and return to the refrigerator. The flesh will become translucent, slightly firm and ready to serve by the second day.

  4. Step 4 Slice and serve

    Remove salmon from wrappings. Wipe off any remaining salt cure mixture and discard. Pat the salmon really well, until dry . Slice thinly at an angle to serve, leaving the skin behind.

    Serving Suggestions: Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, Alaska salmon roe, crispy shallots, and cilantro.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Melissa King