Recipe: Salmon (Sake) Donburi (연어덮밥)


It's been a while since I've done a recipe post. Despite how my Instagram may make it seem, I'm still eating mostly at home and not outside all the time. It's just that I'm no longer either documenting what I make (because of time) or I'm just making a lot of the similar stuff I've already made and posted about before.

After literally months (a year?) of not posting any recipes, I'm sharing this one only because it's been a lifesaver for me in Korea's (literally) tropical summers. I can do dry heat but when it's sticky humid heat, I'd like to NOT be around any stoves thank you very much. Salmon for the win!

- 2 cups of cooked short grain rice, cooled (I substitute with brown rice)
- 400-500g of fresh salmon, cut into 1/4" thin cuts
- 1/2 an onion, sliced thinly
- Wasabi and soy sauce to taste

For sushi rice seasoning
- 3-4 tbsp of a mild vinegar (rice vinegar recommended)
- 1/2 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
Have more on hand to adjust the rice to your liking

Optional topping:
- Very thin cabbage slices
- Sprouts
- Thin shiso or perilla leaf slices
- Salmon roe
- Roasted and unseasoned nori sheets snipped into thin matchsticks
- Toasted sesame seeds

1. Begin by slicing the onion into thin slices and then letting them soak in water, while you prep the rest of the ingredients, to cut the onion's bite. Drain the onion before serving.

2. With the rice, you want to ensure it's not only properly seasoned but cooled. Otherwise, hot rice will cook the salmon giving an entirely different texture and flavor. Place the rice in a large and wide bowl and fan while stirring and overturning with a rice pad to let it cool down. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl, and add the mixture in little drizzles to the cooled rice and mix thoroughly. Taste and season accordingly to your preference and set aside. Don't over season the rice if you plan to add soy sauce to your bowl later or you'll find the dish too salty!

3. Scoop the cooled and seasoned rice onto a wide serving bowl and shape into a rough mound. Take the salmon slices and arrange around the rice. Add the onion slices and any of your other toppings.

As for the wasabi and soy sauce, there's two ways you can enjoy this dish depending on your preference.
I like to add the wasabi atop the salmon bowl and dip each slice of salmon into the soy sauce and onto a spoonful of rice and other ingredients before adding a tiny bit of wasabi. This is recommended for those who want to better savor the ingredients flavors and textures together but separately.

Others mix the soy sauce and wasabi beforehand and drizzle it atop the salmon bowl at once which cuts down on time and effort but I personally find the soy sauce masking the flavors increasingly as you eat.

Serve with a simple side of miso, ochasuke, or in the summer season I like to mix it up with a chilled oinaengguk (cold cucumber and seaweed soup).

No stoves, no fires, minimum effort but a delicious, healthy meal. Perfect summer meal.