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air fried tamarind salmon on platter next to sauce bowl, shallot bowl, and peanut bowl
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5 from 7 votes

Air Fryer Vietnamese Tamarind Salmon

My air fryer Vietnamese tamarind salmon makes an easy and wonderful dinner full of flavor and textures.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Air Fry Time10 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Vy Tran

Equipment

  • Instant Pot Duo Crisp

Ingredients

Tamarind Water

  • 2 ounces tamarind pulp
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water

Salmon Marinade

  • 1.25 pounds salmon fillet, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup tamarind water
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Tamarind Sticky Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tamarind water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 bird's eye chilis, thinly sliced

Garnishes

  • 1/2 cup dried shallots
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Jasmine rice for serving

Instructions

  • To make the tamarind water, soak the tamarind paste in boiling water for 5 minutes breaking up any chunks with a spoon. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Pass the mixture through a sieve to get the tamarind water.
  • To make the tamarind marinade, in a bowl whisk together tamarind water, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and freshly ground pepper until well combined.
  • In a container large enough to hold the salmon, add the marinade and place the fish meat side down, cover, and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to cook the salmon, spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with the olive oil spray.
  • Put a piece of foil underneath the salmon and carefully lower salmon into the basket of the air fryer.
  • Attach the air fryer lid. Press the Air Fry button and set the temperature for 375 degrees F for 12 minutes then press Start.
  • Remove salmon from the basket immediately or it will continue to cook. Discard foil and transfer fish to a serving plate.
  • To make the sticky tamarind sauce, in a small saucepan, combine tamarind water, fish sauce, and sugar and cook on med-high heat for 10-12 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with additional fish sauce and sugar to taste. Add sliced chilis. Set aside.
  • To make the fried shallots, add oil to a small frying pan over low heat. Add the dried shallots and cook until light golden, about 3 minutes.
  • When ready to serve, drizzle the sticky tamarind sauce over salmon, top with fried shallots, roasted peanuts, scallion, and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately with rice, steamed vegetables, and remaining tamarind sauce.

Notes

  • Depending on what air fryer you own, you’ll need to follow the instructions and preheat it. Preheating the air fryer will help crisp up the edge of your fish.
  • Make sure the salmon fillets are similar in size. Using the same size ensures that the salmon will cook evenly. I kept my salmon in one piece but feel free to divide up for your salmon.
  • For cooking salmon and other fish, I add a piece of foil right underneath the piece of fish. With the foil, I can easily lift the fish out of the basket.
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket. Overcrowding the basket can result in undercooking some of the food and burning the other half. 
  • Air fry for another 2 minutes if the salmon didn't cook through.