Asian Salmon-and-Rice Soup

A quick-to-make meal-in-a-bowl, this soup is inspired by similar one-dish wonders popular in China, Thailand, and Japan. The rice is sometimes cooked for so long that it completely dissolves, making a smooth gruel. Our version doesn't go that far; we like the rice to be soft, but still retain its shape.

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  • Servings: 4


  • 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet, skin removed, fish cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 10 cilantro stems, chopped, plus 1 cup cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 scallions including green tops, chopped

How to make this recipe

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the rice and boil until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.

  2. Coat the salmon with the soy sauce and sesame oil.

  3. In a large pot, combine the cooked rice, the cilantro stems, the ginger, salt, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

  4. Add the salmon to the pot. Simmer, covered, until the salmon is just done, about 5 minutes. Remove the cilantro stems. Serve the soup garnished with the cilantro leaves and scallions.


We used long-grain rice for our soup. In China and Japan, it would be made with short-grain, which is starchier and dissolves into the soup more readily. If you want to go the short-grain route, arborio is readily available.

Suggested Pairing

Pairing this soup with wine may be a bit of a stretch. A lager beer is a much better choice. Best of all: small flasks of warm, tangy sake.

Photo © Melanie Acevedo Published September 2012

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