Memorial Day BBQ: Salmon with Ginger and Cumin

This salmon, sitting there on a burntish plank which I didn’t soak for as long as I myself have specified below, looks unassuming and not particularly enticing. But it has converted the salmon-averse to salmon avariciousness!

Take care not to let it overcook (it will dry out) and to use fresh ginger and garlic 😉

My family’s traditional recipes for fish – my predecessors hail from the southwest coast of India – often employ cumin, ginger and garlic as starting points or as ending points! If I fell ill as a child in Malaysia (which was fairly often as I was asthmatic and allergic to the three large Alsatians we had as pets!), my grandmother would brew a tea with cumin seeds and encourage me to drink this through the day. I’m not sure what medicinal properties cumin has, if any, but that brew always made me feel better!

  • side of salmon, wild caught
  • garlic, fresh, 5 cloves
  • ginger, fresh, 2 tbsp
  • soy sauce, liberal dashes of
  • ground cumin, 1 tbsp
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and pepper, for liberal seasoning
  1. Preheat the grill to 350F and pre-soak a cedar plank overnight in a tray of water (or at least two hours)
  2. Marinate the fish in all the above overnight, or at least 1 hour
  3. Place fish, skin side down, on plank
  4. Put the planked fish on indirect heat, watching carefully that the wood doesn’t catch fire (it hasn’t yet for me, but you never know!)
  5. Leave to cook for about 12-15 minutes. Don’t turn it over
  6. Insert thermometer to check doneness (ie 120-125F) or prod with finger if that is preferred

If you get it right – at the millisecond the fish is done – it will be ever so tender and juicy. However, this may not be easy if you’re distracted by friends and family. Rest assured though that even if it cooks a little more, the salmon will be stunning 😉


May 30, 2010. Tags: , . Asian, Barbecue, Dinners, Fish, Grill, Mains, Summer.


  1. Deb replied:

    Dave tried replicating your “conversion” salmon the other day. To not as great success. But it was a worthy effort and though I don’t eat salmon, I will always enjoy yours!

    • Bernadette replied:

      I’m guessing that was before I laid out the recipe? Hope he’ll try it out again some time 😉

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