A quick and easy sesame-crusted pan-fried teriyaki salmon recipe glazed with a sweet and sticky homemade teriyaki sauce which can be served with rice and a side of vegetables
If you have ever pan-fried salmon (or any type of fish) without a well seasoned, non-stick, or Teflon pan you'll know that fish is notorious for sticking to the bottom of the pans - this is one of the reasons why I love to pan-fry fish using a sesame seed crust.
Using a sesame crust for this pan-fried teriyaki salmon also gives it a crispy crust and a buttery/nutty flavor and when combined with sweet and savory teriyaki sauce, the combo is absolutely delicious!
INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Salmon - I like to use fresh salmon filets or salmon steaks for this recipe. If you plan to use frozen salmon, make sure you fully thaw it ahead of time and use a paper towel to press and blot out any excess water before you give it the sesame crust so that the sesame seeds stick to the fish instead of sliding off of it.
- Sesame Seeds - Any type of sesame seeds will work for this recipe as long as they are whole sesame seeds. I have used toasted and raw and they both work beautifully to give it that nice crispy nutty crust.
- Ginger/Garlic - For a bit more flavor, I like to add grated garlic and ginger to the teriyaki sauce. Make sure you brown it in a bit of oil before adding the sauce ingredients - this will cook out that strong raw garlic flavor and give it a more mellowed-out flavor that melds more smoothly into the sauce.
- Sesame Oil - I like to add a bit of sesame oil at the very end after the sauce has finished cooking for some extra nutty flavor. A little goes a long way. Make sure you add this at the very end after you have thickened the sauce. I find that cooking it removes some of the flavor.
- Rice Vinegar - I use rice vinegar to balance out the sweet and salty flavors of the sauce. Alternatively, if you don't have rice vinegar you can substitute it with lemon juice as well.
- Soy Sauce - This is the main ingredient in the teriyaki sauce and there is no substitution for it that I know of. Using it straight up is too salty, so I mix water with it to balance out the saltiness in the sauce.
- Honey/Mirin - I like to use honey to sweeten teriyaki sauce because I always have it on hand and but if I have mirin I will also use that instead of honey as well. If you use mirin, add about ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon more than honey since it is less sweet than honey. Alternatively, you can also use brown sugar.
- Corn Starch - I use corn starch mix with a bit of cold water to make a slurry to thicken the teriyaki sauce to make it into a glaze. If you prefer a thinner sauce or don't want to thicken the sauce you can omit the step of using a corn starch slurry but the sauce might not stick to the salmon and you will not get as good of a flavor.
WHAT IS TERIYAKI SAUCE MADE OF?
There are many different versions of teriyaki sauce and depending on your tastes, some like it sweeter than others. At its core, it is a sweetened soy sauce. My version of teriyaki sauce has ginger, garlic, and sesame oil for a bit more flavor.
I also like to thicken it a little bit with corn starch because I find that the sauce 'sticks' onto food better and doesn't just run off onto my plate. Thickening the sauce is a personal preference, so if you don't like a thick teriyaki sauce, you can definitely omit the corn starch slurry thickening step and enjoy it as it is.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH IT
- I love drizzling teriyaki sauce over white/egg fried rice or chewy sanuki udon noodles and eating this alongside the salmon with some homemade furikake seasoning sprinkled on top. If you want to be on the healthier side, you can definitely serve it with a bit of quinoa or quinoa salad as well, which I will occasionally do when I have it on hand.
- For a vegetable side, I like to serve this with pan-fried cabbage (Sweet Ginger Soy Fried Cabbage), Brussels sprouts (Honey Glazed Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts), or pan-fried baby bok choy. If you use the Brussels sprouts or pan-fried cabbage recipe on this site, you can skip making the sauce for it since you already have a teriyaki sauce from this recipe that you can drizzle on it instead.
- I like to lightly sprinkle a bit of salt on the surface of the salmon. I don't like to marinate salmon because I find that it is a very delicate protein and it is very easy to over marinate it which masks some of the salmon flavor, so instead I just lightly salt it. Marinating salmon in a sugar base marinade will also make it burn when you are pan-frying it as well.
- Once the salmon is seasoned, I like to spread out sesame seeds on a plate and press the salmon into it, but if you want to use fewer sesame seeds, you can also just sprinkle some on each side.
- Use dry hands to press the sesame seeds into the fish. If your hands are wet while you are pressing the seeds into the fish, the seeds will transfer onto your hands and you will lose quite a bit of sesame seeds off the fish.
- If you are rinsing your fish, or you are using frozen salmon that has been thawed out, make sure you pat down the fish so it is dry before putting the sesame seeds on - if the salmon is too wet or damp, the sesame seeds will slide off right off when you are pan-frying it.
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DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
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Sesame Crusted Teriyaki Salmon
- I prefer to lightly sprinkle a bit of salt on the surface of the salmon instead of marinating salmon because I find that fish is a very delicate protein and it is very easy to over marinate it which can overpower the salmon flavor. Marinating salmon in a sugar base marinade will also make it burn when you are pan-frying it as well.
- This recipe works well with salmon steaks as well. You would make the sesame crust on the salmon meat and not the skin. You would also need to cook it a bit longer per side as well since it will be thicker with bones within in.
Corn Starch Slurry (To Thicken Teriyaki Sauce)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 tablespoon water (cold)
Make the Teriyaki Sauce
- Take the salmon out of the fridge and keep it at room temperature while you are making the teriyaki sauce
- Wash and finely chop the green onions and set them aside for the very end as a garnish
- Peel the garlic. Grate or finely mince the garlic and set it aside
- Grate the ginger or finely mince it. If you are mincing it, make sure they are as small as possible. Alternatively, you can use 1 slice of ginger, and discard it after the sauce has finished cooking. Set the ginger aside
- In a small bowl, mix the rest of the teriyaki sauce ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar, water) minus the sesame oil. Set it aside
- In another small bowl mix the corn starch and cold water together and set aside
- Set the stove to medium-low heat and set a small pot over it. Add a bit of oil and wait until it gets hot and shimmery. and toast garlic and ginger in oil for approx 1-2 mins or until light brown
- Add the garlic and ginger into the pot and toast it for 1-2 minutes until it is light brown in color
- Once the garlic and ginger are brown, add the sauce ingredients you previously mixed in a small bowl into the pot. Keep stirring the sauce and cook for 3-5 mins until it starts to bubble
- Once the sauce starts to bubble, mix the corn starch slurry again in the small bowl (the corn starch may separate and settle on the bottom of the bowl) and pour it into the sauce, Keep stirring until the sauce has thickened
- When the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and mix in the sesame oil. Put a lid on the pot to keep the sauce warm while we cook the salmon
Prepare the Sesame Crusted Salmon
- If you are rinsing the salmon or using a previously frozen piece of salmon, make sure to pat dry fish so that the sesame seeds don't slide off the fish
- Lightly salt both sides of the salmon pieces
- Place a layer of sesame seeds onto a plate and press the salmon onto the sesame seeds and flip the fish and do the same on the other side. Alternatively, you can lightly sprinkle the sesame seeds on each side of the salmon if you want to use less sesame seeds
- Using dry hands, gently press the sesame seeds into the fish so that it sticks to it. If your hands are wet during this step, the sesame seeds will transfer off the fish and stick to your hands
Pan Fry the Salmon
- Set the stove to medium heat and set a frying pan on top. Add a bit of oil and butter to the pan and wait until the butter has melted and the pan is hot
- Gently place the salmon into the frying pan, and pan-fry it for 3-4 minutes per side. Your goal is to toast the sesame seeds to a light brown color while cooking the fish
- Once the salmon has finished cooking, remove it from the frying pan and set it on a plate
Glaze the Salmon and Serve
- Brush (or drizzle) the teriyaki sauce on top of the salmon and serve it with rice or some vegetables. I like to drizzle a bit of the teriyaki sauce onto my rice as well for some extra flavor
- Sprinkle some green onions on top of the salmon and enjoy!
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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