769ml / 3.25 cups Chicken Broth/Stock (homemade or store-bought)
Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop the garlic, red chilies, green chilies, and Prik Kee Nu green chilies (if using), red onion, red and yellow bell peppers, spring onion, and coriander as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chilies into a coarse paste and set aside. (Note: Depending on the size of your mortar and pestle and the quantity of chilies you’re using, you may need to smash in two batches.) Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer to get rid of excess starch and set aside.
Make the sauce and broth mixture: Whisk together the Thai chili jam, oyster sauce, fish sauce, light soy sauce, tamarind paste, and light brown sugar in a small measuring cup or bowl until combined well and the chili jam has broken down. Then combine the sauce with the low sodium chicken broth in a large measuring cup or jug until evenly combined.
Prepare the salmon: Remove the salmon fillets from the packaging they came in and gently pat-dry with paper towels. If your fillets came with the skin on, remove and discard the skin. Cut the fillets into 2-inch pieces.
For the Thai Chili Jam Salmon & Rice Bake:
Preheat oven: Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
Sauté veggies and aromatics: Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat in a wok or deep large sauté pan. Once hot, add the red onion and red and yellow bell peppers and sauté for 1-2 minutes until the onion is translucent and peppers start to soften. Add the smashed garlic and chilies and sauté for another 20-30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the rice and sauce & broth mixture: Stir in the rice and pour in the sauce and broth mixture. Turn the heat up and bring to strong boil – this will take 2-3 minutes. Then switch off the heat.
Bake: Transfer the rice mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish (or two 7×9-inch baking dishes) and spread the rice as evenly as you can at the bottom of the dish. Cover the dish tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes.
Prepare the salmon: Meanwhile, make the glaze for the salmon. Combine 1 teaspoon canola oil, 1 tablespoon Thai chili jam, and 2 teaspoons light soy sauce in a small bowl until combined well and the chili jam has broken down. Brush (or spread with a spoon) each salmon piece on all sides with this mixture.
Bake with salmon: Remove the baking dish from the oven and carefully remove the foil. The liquid should have mostly evaporated and the rice should be tender. Stir the rice and veggies mixture, then nestle the sauce salmon pieces in the rice. Cover tightly again with foil and bake again for 6 minutes. Then remove the sheet of foil and continue baking for 6-7 minutes, or until the salmon has browned a little and cooked through.
Rest: Transfer the dish to a wire cooling rack and allow to rest for 15 minutes. The liquid will further be absorbed by the rice during the resting period.
To Serve: Garnish with the chopped spring onion and coriander, then serve immediately.
Thai chili jam: Also known as ‘nam prik pao’, roasted chili paste, Thai chili paste, and roasted chili paste in soybean oil. This is a sweet and savory paste made with soybean oil, dried shrimp, onion, garlic, dried chilies, tamarind, sugar, salt, and shrimp paste. It has the texture of jam comes in small jars. Find it in a Thai/Asian grocery store or purchase it online.
Tamarind paste/concentrate. This tangy paste comes in varying levels of sourness. You may need to adjust the amount depending on how sour your tamarind paste is. Be sure to use a Thai tamarind paste, not an Indian one which is black and sticky.
Fresh Chilies: I used a combination or Thai red and green Bird’s Eye chilies and a few fiery hot Thai green prik kee nu chilies. But any small hot red and green chilies you can get in your area will work. The prik kee nu chilies are tiny in size but incredibly hot. They are listed as optional as they also might be hard to track down outside of Asia. Adjust the quantity of fresh chilies you use based on your heat level preference. Or omit them completely if you’d like to make a milder dish.
Mortar and pestle: If you don’t own one, use a mini blender/food processor to pulse the garlic and chilies into a paste. Or finely chop them instead.
TIGHTLY cover the dish with foil. The foil traps the steam inside and creates a suitable environment for the rice to cook and become tender. If your dish has handles, make sure that you tuck the foil under them so that it is tightly wrapped in the foil.
If cooking just for two: This recipe serves four people. If cooking just for two, use 1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth and halve the rest of the ingredients. Bake the rice and veggies mixture in a 7×9-inch baking dish (such as Pyrex’s 11-cup rectangular baking dish) that’s tightly covered with a sheet of foil for 20-24 minutes. Remove the foil and stir the rice. Nestle the sauce coated salmon pieces in the rice then bake again (covered) for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and bake again for 5-7 minutes or until the salmon has browned a little and cooked through.
Storing and leftovers: Leftovers can be stored in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in small portions on high in the microwave for 1 to 1.5 minutes until the rice and salmon has warmed through. If you’d like to reheat larger portions of leftovers, reheat the rice for 2-3 minutes in the microwave on high separate from the salmon pieces to prevent the fish from drying. Then reheat the salmon pieces for 1 to 1.5 minutes until hot throughout and place on top of the rice before serving.