I used to cook salmon teriyaki in a pan on the stovetop. I seared all sides of the fillet, pour in teriyaki sauce and let the fish cook until it had soaked up the sauce. By that time, the sugars in the sake and mirin have caramelized and the sauce has turned into a glaze that coats the surface of the fish. It was a good technique but air frying salmon teriyaki is easier, faster and infinitely less messy.
Why reduced teriyaki sauce? Real teriyaki sauce is equal parts Japanese soy sauce, sake and mirin. The mixture is thin and it wouldn’t have coated the fish well. By reducing the sauce to a more syrupy consistency, it clings to the fish flesh better during marinating.
It is essential that the salmon fillets be wiped dry with paper towels to remove surface moisture so that there is no barrier between the fish flesh and the marinade. Lay the salmon fillets in a single layer in a shallow bowl, pour the reduced teriyaki sauce over them, cover the bowl, stick in the fridge and marinate for an hour or so.
Should the salmon fillets be marinated skin side down or skin side up? Ideally, both, if the fish had been scaled. That means you can eat the skin so you want it to soak up the marinade too. But the skin of my fillets were not scale-free so I initially marinated the fish skin side up. After half an hour, I turned them on their sides and, after another fifteen minutes, I turned them on the opposite sides. That way, the teriyaki sauce permeated the fish flesh on all sides.
The marinated salmon fillets were drained (the marinade was reserved and set aside), arranged in a single layer in the air fryer basket that had been lined with parchment paper and air fried at 200C for eight minutes.
The half-cooked fillets were then brushed with the reserved reduced teriyaki sauce and cooked at 200C for another four minutes.
Now, a little note here. Some salmon fillets, like mine, have part of the belly attached (the white arrows in the photo above point to the belly part). That portion is thinner and fattier, and will naturally brown and cook faster. You may optionally cut it off if you want the fish to cook more evenly.
Air fried salmon teriyaki
- Air fryer
- 6 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons sake
- 6 tablespoons mirin
Reduce the teriyaki sauce
- Pour the soy sauce, sake and mirin into a pan.
- Boil, uncovered, until reduced by half.
- Cool completely.
Marinate the salmon fillets
- Wipe the salmon fillets with paper towels to remove surface moisture.
- Lay them fillets in a shallow bowl in a single layer.
- Pour the reduced teriyaki sauce over the fish.
- Cover the bowl and marinate the fish in the fridge for an hour.
Air fry the salmon teriyaki
- Line the air fyer basket with parchment paper.
- Drain the salmon fillets (reserve the remaining marinade) and lay then side by side in the basket at least half an inch apart.
- Air fry the fish at 200C for eight minutes.
- Remove the basket from the air fryer and brush the remaining teriyaki sauce on the fish.
- Air fry the salom fillets for another four minutes at 200C.
Serve your sir fried salmon teriyaki
- Using a wide spatula, transfer the cooked fish to individual plates.
- Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and scallions (and, chili flakes, optionally) before serving.