For some moms, getting their kids to eat any type of fish that isn't in fish-stick form is a major challenge. If your own kids fall into this category, don't give up hope just yet. While a nutritious fish like salmon might be off-putting to kids in its most basic form, you can make it more appealing to them if you cook it in a flavorful sauce, such as an Asian sweet chili sauce.
Making the Sauce
While you can pick up a bottle of sweet chili sauce from any Asian market, making it yourself allows you more control of the flavors and the option to keep the heat level mild for your kids. You'll need to finely mince serrano and Thai chilies, removing some or all of the seeds, depending on how mild you want the sauce to be. Combine the chilies with water, rice vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar to taste in a heavy saucepan on the stove, bringing the mixture to a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer into a light syrup. If you want a thicker sauce, add in a little cornstarch and water slurry.
Prepping the Salmon
Pick up the freshest salmon fillets you can find from your local grocery store or fish market. Fresh fillets have bright, moist and shiny flesh with a very silvery skin. Once you bring it home, you can opt to remove the skin by sliding a sharp, thin-bladed knife between the skin and the flesh. However, you might prefer to keep the skin on, if you think your kids will like it. Rinse and pat dry the salmon fillets. Season with salt and pepper lightly, if you so desire.
Cooking the Salmon
You have several options when it comes to cooking salmon and adding the sweet chili sauce. You can pan-sear the salmon in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, adding the sweet chili glaze on top at the end, or right after removing the salmon from the stove. If you left the skin on, place the salmon skin side down first. You can also let the salmon marinate in the chili sauce before placing it under the broiler on a baking sheet and cooking it for about 6 to 10 minutes. Another option is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the salmon for about 20 minutes, basting it occasionally with the chili sauce. The fish is ready when the flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
If your kids are adverse to any fish in a classic fillet form, get a little more creative with the salmon and Asian sweet chili sauce. You can cut up the fillets into bite-sized pieces and marinate them in the chili sauce. Next, coat the fish pieces in egg wash, and then in panko bread crumbs. Bake them in the oven to make healthy salmon fish nuggets. You can also use a food processor to ground up the salmon for salmon burgers. Grill the salmon burgers on an indoor or outdoor grill and baste them with the Asian sweet chili sauce. Serve them to your kids on a bun.