Chettinad {Spiced} Salmon

by Kiran on September 8, 2011 · 26 comments

in Indian, Seafood

Happy Thursday friends,

Another day with an interesting twist to salmon steak recipe. And the star ingredient? Nothing out of ordinary. It’s coconut with loads of whole spices.  After the recent high on coconut recipes, I am still enthusiastic about it. It doesn’t take much to make me happier than usual. Just give me a bowl of shredded coconut (fresh is better), and I would be off into the kitchen, scratching my head thinking of a recipe. I don’t need any coaxing or persuasion. Coconut makes a huge impact. It never fails.

Coconut is essential in major Asian recipes. South Indian recipes primarily calls for coconut, either milk or shredded coconut flesh. Fresh coconuts are so readily available in Malaysia. I recall shredding coconut husks, enjoyed eating fresh coconut pulp and gulping cool coconut water. Aaahh.. memories of childhood. It’s like non other.

What is Chettinad?

Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine of Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in South India. Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. – Source

Back to the recipe. Chettinad cuisine is very new to me. Spices are not fiery hot. I don’t understand why people often perceive Indian cuisine as being very spicy. Ok, I admit we use quite a lot of spices in our recipes. But that simply doesn’t translate to overall heat level of the dish.

Unless you use way too much chili powder, dried chilies or fresh chilies. Either way, you are looking for trouble.

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of salmon. Don’t get me wrong – we do love seafood, primarily fish. But salmon tastes just too “fishy” for our liking. Recipe tasting as such surely broaden the horizons on how we prepare and cook salmon. You can easily substitute salmon with other seafood or meats, such as chicken, lamb etc. The idea is to experiment how well chettinad masala (spices) tastes using different cut of seafood or meat. And did I mention, coconut goes very well with seafood?

Since salmon has high Omega-3 fatty acid content and usually thick in size, a 2 hour marinade is needed in order to allow the flavors of aromatic spices to soak in. Let’s face it, we’d rather tame the “fishiness” of salmon, more than anything else. Around here, we take our food very seriously.

Pair it with crisp and fresh salad made with: spring mix greens, sliced cool cucumbers, grape tomatoes and onions. That ought to cool your spicy palate 🙂

Have you tried Chettinad cuisine before? What are some of your favorite coconut-ty dishes?

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  • 4 medium salmon steaks
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 to 6 tbsp water, to blend
  • Garnish: Lemon slices and coriander leaves
Masala (spices)
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • 3 whole, dried red chilies
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • a pinch of salt & pepper
  1. Roast dry masala (spices) in a skillet without oil for about 5-6 minutes over low heat till slightly browned and toasty.
  2. Remove spices from heat, allow to cool completely before adding water and blending till smooth in a spice blender.
  3. Wash, clean and pat dry salmon steaks.
  4. Coat spice paste on salmon steaks and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  5. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium. Once hot, add oil and marinated salmon.
  6. Cook salmon and spices till oil separates. That would take about 15 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle salt and black pepper as needed. Squeeze in lemon juice just before serving.
  8. Garnish with lemon slices and coriander leaves. Best eaten hot with chapati or basmati rice, with a serving of cool salad.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate September 8, 2011 at 7:40 PM

This seriously looks like a great dish. Come cook for me!
Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate recently posted..Dinner Of Champions: Eggs And Guacamole

2 Kiran September 15, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Thanks! Haha! If you were from Orlando, I would’ve cooked for you 😀

3 Simply Life September 8, 2011 at 8:46 PM

what a fabulous salmon dish!
Simply Life recently posted..A New Perspective: Eggplant Caponata

4 Luv'n Spoonfuls September 8, 2011 at 9:19 PM

I love salmon and am so happy to see this post as I tend to do the same preparation for it over and over again…so happy to have a very tasty and beautiful alternative (LOVE all those spices). Can’t wait to give this a try (I think I’ll just bookmark your entire site as everything looks so delicious 😉
Luv’n Spoonfuls recently posted..Snickerdoodles

5 Kiran September 15, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Thanks for the compliments dear, you made my day 🙂
We never truly loved salmon, and after a lot of trials and errors, this recipe seems to beat everything else out there 🙂 Give it a try and let me know how it tastes.

6 sandy September 8, 2011 at 10:29 PM

love salmon and never thought of cooking it the ‘indian’ way. will surely try it and let u know
sandy recently posted..If I can dream it-can you tab it?

7 Kiran September 15, 2011 at 3:33 PM

I am glad that I had the inspiration to Indianized the usual salmon recipes out there. Can’t wait to read your experience with this recipe 🙂

8 Tres Delicious September 9, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Oh boy! that’s mouthwatering fresh salmon. I’m gonna prepare my chopsticks for that this weekend 🙂

9 Kiran September 15, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Tres Delicious,
Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for the compliments! Truly made my day, for better 🙂 Let me know how it tastes!

10 myFudo September 9, 2011 at 4:40 AM

Again…. I love your blog
myFudo recently posted..giveaway: chic lunch bag by nana brown using michael millers print

11 Kiran September 15, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Aww.. Thanks a lot dear 🙂

12 Rosa September 9, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Oh, that dish looks amazing! Those falvors are wonderful. Now, I’m drooling…



13 Gerlinde September 9, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Your dish looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it.
Gerlinde recently posted..A Turkey, Pork and Tomato Meatloaf

14 Kiran September 15, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for the lovely compliments 🙂

15 Tanvi@SinfullySpicy September 9, 2011 at 4:04 PM

So So full of flavors..chettinad style is one of me & my husband’s fav way to cook meats since we spent few years in Chennai! I usually dont add salmon to curries but you have just inspired me.Looks totally YUM!
Tanvi@SinfullySpicy recently posted..Date & Fig Ladoo (Sweet Balls) – Grain free, Sugar free & Guilt free

16 Reem | Simply Reem September 9, 2011 at 8:26 PM

This looks absolutely divine,
Lovely use of chettinad style curry, I would have never thought of adding salmon to it. Wonderful Kiran.

17 kankana September 9, 2011 at 8:34 PM

OMG Kiran .. this is looking sooo amazing. The color .. the spice mix.. i am drooling here. I had chettinad chicken and wanted to make it at home once, and now I have your recipe to refer.
kankana recently posted..Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce

18 Miri Leigh September 10, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Yum- I’m an huge salmon fan and think this recipe looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing!

19 Kalyan September 11, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Just mouthwatering…looks so easy to prepare and delicious!

20 chopinandmysaucepan September 11, 2011 at 11:20 PM

I have not tried chettinad before but your salmon definitely looks delicious!! I love the availability of fresh coconut in Malaysiaa too, especially the fresh coconut milk to make curries! 🙂 🙂

21 Naina @ STYLE'N September 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Wow this looks great. We make salmon at least once a week and I am always looking for new recipes! This looks delicious.

22 Kiran September 15, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for the compliments. Do try this salmon recipe and let me know how it tastes 🙂

23 Nava Krishnan September 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Nice twist to cooking the salmon Kiran, its simply lovely looking and will be great for white rice.

24 Kiran September 15, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for the compliments 🙂

25 Rani January 2, 2013 at 1:06 AM

Hi Kiran,
I just wanted to say that this looks like a great dish. I love Chettinad food. I will be trying this one day very soon.
Keep up the good work.

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