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Luke Nguyen’s char-grilled salmon salad

Preparation time
1 hour (including marinating time)
Cooking time
1 hour (including marinating time)
4 as part of a shared dinner


  • 200g salmon fillet, skin on, pin boned
  • 300g pickled vegetables (recipe below)
  • 1 cup watercress
  • 10 perilla leaves, sliced
  • 10 mint leaves, sliced
  • 10 Vietnamese mint leaves, sliced
  • 1 tsp fried garlic
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fried red Asian shallots
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 3 tbsp nuoc mam cham dipping fish sauce (recipe below)

Salmon marinade

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp fish sauce

Nuoc cham dipping fish sauce

  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

Pickled vegetables

Note: pickling time - 3 days

  • 625ml rice vinegar
  • 440g sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 Lebanese (short) cucumbers
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small daikon radish
  • 1 celery stalk
  • ½ lemon, cut into thin wedges


  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the salmon and marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the salad, char-grill the salmon over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until medium rare, making sure it is well coloured on the outside. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes, then flake the flesh into a bowl.
  3. Add remaining salad ingredients except the peanuts, shallots and chilli. Mix together and turn out onto a serving platter. Garnish with peanuts, shallots and chilli and serve.

Notes: Fried shallots and fried garlic can be bought in Asian supermarkets or you can do your own. Peel and finely slice 6 garlic cloves and 4 eschallots. Deep fry in hot oil for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel.

Nuoc cham dipping fish sauce

  1. Combine the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and 125ml of water in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir well and cook until just before boiling point is reached. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. To serve, add the garlic and chilli, then stir in the lime juice. Store tightly sealed in a jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Pickled Vegetables

  1. In a saucepan, combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt, stir well and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Cut cucumbers in half lengthways and scrape out seeds. Cut cucumber, carrot, daikon and celery into 5cm x 5mm batons.
  3. Combine lemon wedges with the vegetables and place in a 1 litre plastic or glass container. Pour cooled pickling liquid over the vegetables to submerge them. Cover with a lid, place in the fridge and allow to pickle for 3 days before use.

Note: Store any leftover pickled vegetables in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Preparation time
1 hour (including marinating time)
Cooking time
1 hour (including marinating time)
4 as part of a shared dinner


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Poh Ling Yeow
Words by Jackie Macdonald on 8 May 2018
Last time we spoke to Poh Ling Yeow, she was on the verge of launching the second series of her television show, Poh & Co., and had just opened her café, Jamface. This time, we’re catching up with her to talk about her baking book, Poh Bakes 100 Greats.  TV presenter, cook, baker, author, artist, café owner – a better cover star for our diversity issue would have been tough to find!  Not many people know Poh as a baker, a point she makes in the introduction to her book. But, in actual fact, it was her first great cooking love. So, this book was a long time coming.  “I’m really excited about it because I feel like it’s a book I would have written first if I’d had my own way,” she explains. “But everyone knew me for my South-East Asian food, so I had to buy a bit of time and come out as a baker before I could effectively sell a book about baking!”  Poh ‘came out’ by opening Jamface, her café in Adelaide’s Central Market at the end of 2015. While Jamface offers other eats, the main attractions are Poh’s great passion – cakes and pastries made from scratch on site. 

I just don't think I"m out ot impress anyone anymore. I've shed all of that self-consciousness and I literaly cook food I would put on my table at home. 

- Poh Ling Yeow
  Childhood inspiration Poh’s love of baking started when she was a child, she explains. “I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen much as a kid, but baking was one thing I was allowed to do because my mum and great aunty Kim deemed it safe.” Poh’s mum, Christina, was also a great source of inspiration. “I grew up watching my mum bake madly all through my childhood,” she recalls.  For Christina, home economics was the highlight of her school days, and when they arrived in Australia, she took to baking with gusto.  One of the things Christina really instilled in her daughter is the power of persistence.  “If she doesn’t get something right,” Poh says, “she’ll just make it every day for five days in a row until she perfects it. I have definitely inherited that obsessiveness to get things right.” While many authentic Malaysian desserts are fried, steamed or frozen, baked treats are common too. One that Poh was particularly fond of growing up was pineapple tarts, the recipe for which features in her book.  “They’re a really popular little Malaysian snack with really short crust pastry and a super caramelised jam on top,” she describes.  Another of her childhood favourites in the book is coconut love letters. “They always remind me of Chinese New Year. They’re actually really easy to make, with a similar texture to tuille, but a lovely coconutty flavour,” Poh says.  The legend of these treats is that young Peranakan women, who weren’t allowed to meet their loves unattended, would write love letters, hide them inside folded biscuits, and throw them over the wall to their boyfriends. 
Get Poh's easy mixed mushrooms and hazelnut tart recipe here . For more recipes and the full story with Poh, pickup a copy of Selector  from all good newsagents, subscribe or look inside your next Wine Selectors delivery.  OUT NOW: Poh bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow, RRP $39.99. 
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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