food for the mind

In the Kitchen

Wild Salmon with Nam-Jim Slaw


  • 2 x 6oz salmon cutlets
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 long red chilli, chopped finely )
  • ¼ red cabbage, sliced finely
  • 1 carrot, peeled & julienned
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 6 baby radishes, sliced finely
  • Half bunch mint leaves
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper


Place fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice in mixing bowl and stir until sugar dissolves. Add chilli, cabbage, carrots, spring onions, radish and mint leaves. Toss well to combine.

Drizzle salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook in a cast iron pan for 3 to 4 mins on each side for medium, or to your liking.

Place salmon cutlets on plates with a generous portion of nam jim coleslaw.

Memories.  Fresh mint, fish sauce and palm sugar.  All ingredients from my youth. But I never cooked. Sydney food was inexpensive and experimental. It took cues from its Asian neighbors and infused simplicity with pungent and distinctly Asian herbs -Thai basil, mint, and lemongrass. The result was fresh, vibrant and aromatic food. The only place that comes close to this in New York, is Chelsea Thai in the Chelsea Market, but it’s a hole in the wall and is more reminiscent of street food in Bangkok than the more elegant Sydney fare.

But that’s where you come in. Make this yourself. You’ll need to seek out fish sauce and palm sugar. Fish sauce is available from Wholefoods (or any other supermarket) and palm sugar means going on a food hunt. It’s available at Chelsea Thai in the Chelsea Markets, Kalustians on Madison (Murray Hill) and the Bangkok Center Grocery in China Town. Brown sugar isn’t a substitute, get the real thing.

This recipe and photo come from an Australian blogger What Katie Ate. Her photographer is superb, her dishes are a little decadent but this is one of her lighter ones.

Have fun with this.  If you get it right, you’ll never go back to coleslaw with mayonnaise.

Photo Credit:

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