Vietnamese salmon “burgers”

Salmon Cakes

This is a recipe I wanted to share with you since a long time but somehow it was impossible to get a decent photo.
Well last week I tried again and beside a lovely dinner I also ended up with a decent picture.
These little cakes or burgers are my favourite food a t the moment, they are incredibly yummy and not a big effort.

The Nuoc Cham

Start with making the “nuoc cham ” the traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce which should be on every Vietnamese table . This recipe is my absolute favourite, it gives you a very balanced  “nuoc cham” which I’d almost want to drink. I recommend making at least 3 times the amount. It can be kept in the fridge for a week.


You’ll need:

  • 1 ts rice vinegar
  • 3 ts sugar
  • 1 birds-eye chilli, finely chopped without the seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves squashed
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbs fish sauce

Mix the sugar , vinegar and water in a pan. Bring to boil and let cool down.
Add the garlic, chilli and lime juice. Then add fish sauce.

The Caramel Sauce – Thang Nuoc Dung


You’ll need:

  • 250 gr palm sugar or other sugar

Melt the sugar on very low heat. When the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat.
While stirring the sugar constantly let it caramelise until it turns brown. As soon as it starts to smoke take it of the heat and add 180 ml hot water. Be careful the sugar is very hot and adding the water will be quite “explosive”.
In case the sugar crystallises again, put it back on the stove an let simmer on low heat until it dissolves again.

The caramel keeps a long time in the fridge.

The Burgers


You’ll need:

  • 500 gr organic or msc salmon
  • 50 gr shallots finely chopped
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs fishsauce
  • 1 tbs caramel sauce
  • 5 tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • freshly ground pepper
  • rice noodles or soba noodles

Roughly chop the salmon. Add the chopped shallots, sesame oil, the caramel sauce, the chopped cilantro and fresh ground pepper.

Make little balls and gently press them into burger shape.
Fry briefly in a hot pan. Don’t over cook them they are nicer on the raw side.

While the burgers are in the pan, cook the noodles. I like soba noodles (these take a little longer than rice noodles so start cooking them before the fish goes into the pan) but if you prefer rice noodles that’s fine too.

Serve with fresh fresh herbs (dill, cilantro, mint and thai basil). As with the Cha Ca La Vong, take a bit of everything and mix in the bowl.