Masala-Crusted Salmon

Blackened Fillets with Cumin, Coriander, and Paprika

This salmon dish is one of my absolute favorites. It’s my go-to recipe when I want an elegant and simple dinner on the table in under a half hour. Cumin and coriander provide deeply earthy flavors, while paprika and cayenne combine to give heat and a beautiful brick color to the fillets. Drizzled with mint chutney, the buttery salmon flakes easily with a fork and melts in your mouth.

Speaking of chutney, mint (pudina) chutney is a remarkably versatile condiment that you will want to add to your repertoire. You may recognize this brilliantly green sauce from Indian restaurants, where it’s often served with samosas and other fried snacks. With this recipe you’ll have plenty of leftovers which you can keep in the fridge or freezer and use as a healthy dip for veggies or as a sauce for meat and poultry.

Open up a bottle of wine, get a nice sear on the salmon, and you’re all set for an unforgettable date night.

Serve with:
Grilled Asparagus with Mustard Seeds
(recipes in the book!)

Serves 4

4 salmon fillets (1½ to 2 pounds total), skinned
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon canola oil

For the Mint Chutney:
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 Indian green chilli*, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* available in Indian grocery stores (aka Thai bird’s eye chili)

  1. Wash and pat dry the salmon fillets.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, cumin, coriander, brown sugar, cayenne, salt, turmeric, and lemon zest. Rub approximately 1/2 tablespoon of the spice blend onto each side of the salmon fillets.
  3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, place the fillets in the pan and cook for 4 minutes on the first side. Then flip the fillets and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, or until the desired degree of doneness.
  4. Meanwhile, for the chutney, wash the mint and cilantro. (Since the sauce won’t be cooked, it’s important to wash the herbs well, to rinse off any grit that may be stuck to the leaves or stems.) Place all the ingredients for the chutney in a blender and puree until smooth, adding up to 1 tablespoon water if needed. You will probably need to stop the blender a few times and stir the contents to get things going. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  5. Plate the salmon and drizzle with the mint chutney.

Reprinted from Bollywood Kitchen: Home-Cooked Indian Meals Paired with Unforgettable Bollywood Films by Sri Rao (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).

Go to Top