Sugar Seared Salmon with Coconut Lime Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Easy and delicious, this sugar seared salmon is served with wilted bok choy and a coconut lime sauce.
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  • 4 centre-cut salmon fillets
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 6 baby bok choy stem end removed and sliced in half if large
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup water or as needed

Sugar Rub:

  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Coconut Lime Sauce:

  • 1 tsp lemongrass paste or 3/4 tsp peeled and grated stalk
  • 1 tsp ginger paste or 3/4 tsp grated ginger root
  • 14 oz can coconut milk full fat
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • Juice of 1/2 a small lime
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve:

  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves optional


  • Cook the Bok Choy: Remove the stalk end of the bok choy and rinse and dry leaves. Cut large leaves in half from top to bottom, if large. Heat a bit of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and bok choy leaves and cook, stirring for a minute. Add a tablespoon of water or so to the pan and allow to cook off, stirring once or twice while cooking another couple of minutes. Add a bit more water and allow to cook off, cooking and stirring another minute or so or until bok choy leaves are wilted and tender-crisp. Remove bok choy to a plate. Remove skillet from heat.
  • While the Bok Choy is Cooking: Prepare the sugar rub by stirring together the sugar, salt and pepper. Gather your sauce ingredients and if you have time, measure them out and have them handy, so your sauce will come together quickly later.
  • Cook the Salmon: Moisten salmon fillets slightly with a bit of water, then generously sprinkle top with sugar rub. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel then return to the burner over medium heat. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in skillet. Place salmon in skillet, with the side with the sugar rub down. Allow to cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes, then cook a further 2 minutes, moving the fillets around in the pan a bit, until the underside is deep golden and caramelized. Sprinkle the top with some sugar rub, then flip over and cook the other side until golden, about 3-4 minutes more. Remove salmon to a plate.
  • Prepare the sauce: Keep the browned butter in the skillet and place skillet over medium heat. Add the lemongrass and ginger to the skillet and stir, scraping up any browned bits and cooking for 30 seconds or so. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, turmeric, lime zest, lime juice and kaffir lime leaves, if using. Bring sauce to a boil. Allow to gently boil and reduce for a couple of minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed and to taste. If you feel the salmon needs a warm up, you can set it in the skillet with the hot sauce for a minute.
  • To serve: Place wilted bok choy in a little pile in the centre of a shallow serving bowl. Place salmon fillet on top of bok choy. Spoon some hot sauce on either side of the bok choy/salmon. Serve with a wedge of lime and some chopped fresh cilantro, if you like.


Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 591kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 1187mg | Potassium: 1106mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 7790IU | Vitamin C: 79.6mg | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 4.3mg