Zhoug & Salmon Salad – Dani Valent

A frisky feed-a-crowd salad with steamed salmon and greens

I think food should be fun to say as well as to eat so I’m a massive fan of zhoug, a green chilli and herb paste from Yemen. Watch the video to hear how to say it! Today I marinate salmon in zhoug, then tear it into chunks and make it the hero of a fresh and healthy salad.

You could think of it as a frisky Niçoise-style salad combining North African and French flavours, or you could just think of it as a yummy lunch or dinner that feeds a crowd.

Zhoug is an amazing condiment for grilled meats too; it features in the Barbecue chapter of my book Entertaining with Dani Valent. 

Serves: 6 as a main (add more fish and salad to feed more)
Time: 40 minutes



  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 fresh long green chillies, seeds removed (reduce to taste)
  • 6 sprigs coriander, leaves and stalks
  • 10 sprigs parsley, leaves only
  • 50 grams lemon juice
  • 40 grams olive oil

Salmon, potatoes & snow peas

  • 4 salmon fillets, skin on (approx. 200-300 grams each)
  • 400 grams potatoes, e.g. kipfler (cut into 3cm pieces, if necessary)
  • 200 grams snow peas, trimmed


200 grams baby spinach leaves
3 stems kale, stalks removed
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
120 grams green olives, pitted
40 grams sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar


1. Place caraway seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns and salt into mixing bowl. Grind 6 sec/speed 9.

2. Add garlic, chillies, coriander and parsley. Chop 2 sec/speed 8. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula. If a finer consistency is preferred, chop again 4 sec/speed 9.

3. Add lemon juice and mix 4 sec/speed 7.

4. Add olive oil through hole in mixing bowl lid and blend 30 sec/speed 3. Transfer to a bowl. Rinse out mixing bowl.

Salmon, potatoes & snow peas
5. Spread spoonfuls of Zhoug over salmon fillets and set aside to marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes.

6. Pour 700 grams water into mixing bowl. Place potatoes into Varoma and set into position. Steam 15 min/Varoma/speed 1.

7. Place a sheet of baking paper onto Varoma tray and arrange salmon fillets on top. Insert tray into Varoma and continue steaming 6 min/Varoma/speed 1.

8. Remove Varoma tray, place snow peas into Varoma on top of potatoes and return Varoma tray into position. Continue steaming 2 min/Varoma/speed 1. Remove Varoma tray and set aside to allow salmon, potatoes and snow peas to cool slightly. (Feeding a crowd? Cook more salmon at this point.)

9. Place spinach leaves and kale into a large bowl and drizzle over olive oil and sherry vinegar, using the ratio 2 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar. Toss to combine.

To assemble
10. Transfer dressed salad greens to a serving bowl and arrange snow peas and potatoes over the top. Break salmon fillets into chunks, peeling it away from the skin, and arrange on top of salad. Scatter over tomatoes, green olives and sunflower seeds.

Add dollops of Zhoug and serve extra on the side for guests to help themselves. This salad can be served straight away or refrigerated for use later that day.


  • As I say in the video, reduce (or boost) the chillies if you like: recipes are great but always consider your own ingredients and preferences.
  • Use your best olive oil for the dressing.
  • Break up the salmon fillets by peeling chunks away from the skin.
  • This works really well as a shared platter but feel free to plate this up individually if you prefer.


  • Replace sherry vinegar with any vinegar of your choice, e.g. apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar etc.
  • Use whatever seasonal salad vegetables are available.
  • Replace sunflower seeds with pine nuts, almonds or other nut or seed of choice.
  • Make a similar salad with lamb backstraps or cutlets.

Looking for more recipes with Salmon? Try my Salmon & Rockling Poke with Furikake – sushi that’s bowled, not rolled.

For an equally delicious (and less spicy) variation, try my Everything Salsa – a flavour-packed condiment that doubles as a marinade.

For a different take on steaming fish in the Varoma, try my elegant, Japanesque Steamed Fish with Eggplant Miso.

Did you know Dani Valent Cooking gift vouchers are available right here? They make the perfect present for the Thermo-lover in your life.

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