Keeva Eats Belfast Food Blog Pan-fried salmon, sticky aubergine, smacked cucumber

Pan-Fried Salmon, Sticky Aubergine, Smacked Cucumber

One of the perks of being an adult is being able to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Even though The Current Situation™ limits your choices somewhat, you still essentially have the freedom to eat and drink everything, all of the time. Mac and cheese on a Wednesday? Why not. After-work drinks on a Sunday? Done. Except: You’re an adult, aren’t you? You have tasks to perform on a daily basis: You have a job to be getting on with, a metabolism that is fast catching up with you, and internal organs that are fed up of your bull. Probably time for a night off anyway, isn’t it. Probably time to have a glass of water.

This pan-fried salmon, sticky aubergine and smacked cucumber recipe is good because it absolutely helps to alleviate any shame left behind from your ‘New Normal’ routine, is very easy to make, and gives you a few versatile sides that can be chucked alongside most dishes. Sabrina Ghayour’s sticky, spicy aubergines are a great veggie side and a simple way of getting more of something that isn’t awful for you into your diet; and the smacked cucumber salad would work in any taco recipe. The latter also gives you an excuse to take a rolling pin to an inanimate vegetable, which is good fun. Other bits with bullet points:

  • Use what you have – Sab’s aubergine recipe calls for rose harissa, nigella seeds and fresh coriander – we had none of these at the time of cooking, so feel free to use whatever substitutes you have. In our case this was sumac, a teaspoon of the remnants of a bizarre chilli paste, and this mad stuff (which you can get at Tesco and is great to have for any asian cooking).
  • Bash your cucumber – There’s meant to be a foodie reason behind this – something to do with the cell walls of the cucumber breaking down and being more able to absorb other flavours – but it’s just great fun. Take off the ends of the cucumber and batter it. Ha! Brilliant fun. Do this bit first so that the honey and other seasonings can soak in, and so that you can clean up the cucumber entrails that are now scattered around your kitchen.
  • Sofishticated We used salmon for this, because it really *tastes* healthy, but prawns would be good too. The cooking of the salmon will depend on the thickness of the piece you have, but if it’s skin on, make sure to get it crispy before flipping.


Serve with your own choice of carbs – again, rice just *feels* healthy (it was a big weekend, alright), but use whatever works. You could also just have the pan-fried salmon, sticky aubergine and smacked cucumber by itself, if you’re weird.

Pan-Fried Salmon, Sticky Aubergine, Smacked Cucumber

Servings 2 People



  • 2 Salmon Fillets
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper

Smacked Cucumber

  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Red Chilli; chopped
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Mirin
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper

Sticky Aubergines

  • 6 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Aubergines
  • 2 tbsp Rose Harissa/Chilli Paste
  • 4 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper


  • Top and tail your cucumber, and bash with a rolling pin until broken but not completely disintegrated. Cut lengthways and then chop into half-moons. Add cucumber to a medium bowl along with chopped red chilli, red wine vinegar, sesame oil, mirin, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and let sit.
  • Heat a large saucepan over high heat and add 6 tbsp olive oil, or until oil starts to fill up the side of pan. Half aubergines lengthwise and cut into half-moons. Add aubergines to the pan and mix with the hot oil – they'll absorb a lot of the oil, but will release this once cooked through. If you notice the bottom of the pot starts to brown, add more oil.
  • Fry the aubergines for 10-12 minutes and stir regularly so that they don't stick. Once they are golden brown, transfer to a paper-lined plate. Cover in more kitchen paper to absorb the oil.
  • Heat one tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Season salmon fillets with salt, pepper and ground coriander and once pan is hot, place in skin side down and cook for 4-6 minutes. Flip, and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
  • Transfer aubergines back into the pan and add harissa/chilli paste, honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until aubergines are well coated in the paste/honey mix, and top with sesame seeds to finish.
  • Serve with rice (optional) and enjoy.

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