Pan-fried salmon with crispy skin seasoned with scallion & ginger infused oil and an umami-rich sauce. It only takes 15 minutes to cook.
For festive gatherings and special occasions, a fish dish is often a must-have centerpiece of a Chinese feast. For example, steamed fish is one of the most popular Chinese New Year recipes on my blog. But some of my readers have asked for another recipe using boneless fish filets instead of whole fish.
Today’s recipe, scallion ginger salmon with soy dressing, is a wonderful way to cook fish filet with elements of Chinese cuisine. It’s inspired by the classic Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodles which are dressed with a tasty combination of scallion-infused oil and a soy sauce-based dressing.
This recipe also shows you how to pan-fry salmon to perfection: while the flesh remains tender and the skin side reaches its maximum crispiness.
Ingredients & substitutes
I often use a big piece of salmon filet for this recipe as I like serving it as a Chinese-style sharing dish. You may also use smaller pieces and serve them individually.
No matter which way, make sure to choose the skin-on filets as the crispy skin is one of the highlights of the dish.
Don’t fancy salmon? Use other fish as substitutes, such as cod, hake, pollock, halibut, etc.
Scallions & ginger
When fried in oil, these two aromatics release incredible fragrance which is the key factor in the flavor profile of the dish. You may also add some cilantro (coriander) to enhance the taste.
This recipe calls for a few common Chinese condiments to season:
- Light soy sauce provides savory and umami taste
- Shaoxing rice wine lends extra aroma
- White pepper adds some mild heat
- Sugar or honey balances the saltiness
You’d need a medium/large skillet (frying pan) to cook scallion ginger salmon. A heavy-bottom, non-stick one is preferable as it produces a better result.
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
Use kitchen paper to pat dry both sides of the salmon filet. This is to avoid splashing when putting it into the hot oil. Also, it helps to achieve the crispest skin possible. Evenly sprinkle a little salt over the flesh side of the fish.
Cut scallions and ginger into thin strips. Mix all the seasonings in a small bowl then set aside.
Step 2: Fry the aromatics
Pour oil (sunflower, canola, peanut, vegetable oil, etc.) into a skillet (frying pan) then add scallions and ginger.
Turn on the heat to medium. Leave to fry until the scallions start to wilt a little (they should be still in vibrant color).
Step 3: Fry the salmon
Push the scallions and ginger to the side then place the salmon, skin side facing downwards, over the hot oil. To ensure an even sear of the skin, press the fish with a spatula. Leave to cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
Then gently flip over the filet (I use two spatulas, one on each side, to balance) to cook the other side for another 4 minutes.
🛎 During this process, remember to take out the scallions and ginger once they become a little golden. Be careful not to burn them.
Step 4: Crispy the skin
Once the flesh side gains some golden color, flip over and turn the heat up to high. Fry the skin to make it extra crispy. This takes about 1 minute (Lift it a little to check the doneness).
Transfer the salmon to a serving plate (keep the skin side up to keep its crispiness) along with the flavored oil.
Step 5: Add the sauce
Turn off the heat. Pour the sauce mixture into the empty skillet. Use the remaining heat of the skillet to warm up the sauce for just a few seconds (It’ll bubble up vigorously).
Pour the sauce around the salmon. Do not add it over the fish skin. Otherwise, it will go soggy. Sprinkle the fried scallions and ginger all over and serve immediately.
Serve the dish
Scallion ginger salmon goes very well with plain steamed rice, accompanied by some vegetable dishes. Sometimes, I also like using it to stuff folded bao buns (breaking the fish into small pieces and mixing them with the aromatics and sauce). Let me know how you like to enjoy it!
Other fish & seafood recipes
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & if you REALLY like it, consider leaving a comment as well!
Scallion Ginger Salmon with Soy Dressing
- 1.3 lb salmon filet (skin on) - see notes 1 & 2
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 6 stalks scallions
- 5 sliced ginger
- 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine - see note 3
- ½ teaspoon sugar - or honey
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 4 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
- Pat dry salmon filet thoroughly with kitchen paper. Sprinkle salt evenly over the flesh side.
- Cut scallions into sections then slice them lengthwise into thin strips. Cut ginger into sticks.
- Mix light soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, sugar (or honey), and white pepper in a small bowl.
- Pour oil into a skillet (frying pan). Add scallions and ginger. Fry over medium heat until the scallions start to wilt.
- Push the scallions and ginger to the side of the skillet leaving most of the oil over the empty surface. Place the salmon, skin side down, over the hot oil. Press with a spatula to ensure the skin is in contact with the oil.
- Leave to cook for about 3 minutes (remain on medium heat) then flip over to cook the other side for a further 4 minutes. During the process, as soon as the scallions and ginger start to brown, pick them out to avoid burning.
- Finally, turn the heat to high, and flip over the salmon again to crisp the skin side for a minute. Once it browns nicely, turn off the heat. Transfer the salmon to a serving plate (skin side up). Pour the oil around it.
- Pour the sauce mixture into the skillet. Use its remaining heat to bubble up the sauce for 5 seconds or so. Pour it around the salmon (see note 4). Sprinkle the fried scallions and ginger over the fish and serve immediately.
NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: Nutritional information on this website is provided as a courtesy to readers. It should be considered estimates. Please use your own brand nutritional values or your preferred nutrition calculator to double check against our estimates.
Love your recipe. I love Chinese food and I would love to learn more from you. I have made the Chinese chicken noodle soup unfortunately missing rice wine but it taste so delicious so thank you. I cannot wait to learn more recipes from you.
Wei Guo says
Welcome to my Chinese cooking community Bernie. Wish you a fun time discovering Chinese cuisine!
PETER T. says
I get to learn more new delicious recipes and cooking technique every week.
Thanks you so much.
Wei Guo says
My pleasure to share Peter. Glad you enjoy my recipes!
Susan C says
What an easy to follow recipe for a delicious way to cook salmon! Cooked the salmon exactly as advised and it was perfect for a first go. Blanched Asian greens with crispy garlic and oyster sauce complemented the meal. Thank you, Wei for the effort that you always put into your recipes.
Wei Guo says
My pleasure to share Susan!
This is truly the best way to do fish. I love it. Thank you for your recipe. It is awesome.
Wei Guo says
You’re welcome Heysus! Glad you liked it.
Uday D says
I made this recipe yesterday. Came out well.. as approved by the missus 🙂 i have made other recipes and they all turn out great.
Will certainly be making this again. Only thing is i need to increase the amount of the sauce. Per the recipe it was less than what is seen in the photo.
Wei Guo says
Thanks for leaving your valuable feedback! Yes, please increase the sauce quantity as you wish.
Absolutely delicious! Easy to make and an excellent way to serve salmon. I served it with her stir fried Pak Choi (find it in the vegetarian section of this blog) and steamed jasmine rice. Yum!
Wei Guo says
That sounds like a great combination Michele! Glad you enjoyed the dish!