Recipe: Seared Salmon with Soy, Scallions, and Ginger

updated May 1, 2019
Seared Salmon with Soy, Scallions, and Ginger
Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: The Woks of Life)

Coming from a Cantonese background on my father’s side, I’m no stranger to seafood dishes involving copious amounts of scallions and ginger. It is absolutely one of the best flavor combinations known to man.

Traditionally, scallions and ginger are often made into a paste with oil and salt and served with chicken, or stir-fried with shrimp, lobster, or crab. But one of the most common applications of the scallion-ginger magic is a dish of perfectly steamed whole fish smothered with a sauce of soy, wilted scallions, and caramelized ginger. Served at every Cantonese banquet and many a family dinner table, that dish was the main inspiration for this recipe.

I love cooking salmon during the week, because it’s so easy to make. We’re all about saving time in the kitchen when it comes to these weeknight recipes. I usually just season it with salt and pepper and sear it in a cast iron skillet.

(Image credit: The Woks of Life)

But if you want something really special, you can put that crispy, flaky salmon over a bed of steamed rice, and take five minutes to go that one extra step of making some of that soy, scallion, ginger sauce I was talking about. Spooned over the top of the fish with some chopped cilantro? There’s nothing better.

When we were kids, my sister and I would mix just the sauce with a bowl of rice and practically inhale it. Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself doing the same.

(Image credit: The Woks of Life)

Seared Salmon with Soy, Scallions, and Ginger

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 4

    salmon fillets (6 ounces each)

  • Salt and pepper

  • 3 tablespoons

    vegetable oil, divided

  • 3 tablespoons

    finely julienned fresh, peeled ginger

  • 3

    scallions, finely julienned

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 3 tablespoons

    soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • Steamed rice, for serving


  1. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon and sear until it reaches your desired doneness, about 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your fillets. Transfer to a serving plate.

  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the ginger and cook until browned. Add the scallions and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the water, soy sauce, and sugar and stir until sugar is melted. Pour the sauce over the salmon, and sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve with steamed rice.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Visit The Woks of Life Online

For more recipes, amusing anecdotes, and a wellspring of advice on Chinese cooking methods and ingredients, check out The Woks of Life. You can also follow the Leung family on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.