Whats the next best thing to do when you can’t fish cause of weather with all the fish stored in the freezer. YUP it’s that time to make candy.
What defines Indian Candy salmon to me? At most time the ones selling Indian candy salmon is really a smoked fish . As usual the smoking process produces a product that is moist, colorful, full of flavor but I still considered a smoke fish even though they call it candy. Candy salmon to me is hard, dry, tougher than jerky, thicker than jerky and full of flavor.
First thing in creating Indian Candy salmon is the drying process. Lots of failure attempts trying to discover the perfect recipe. It turned out you need to have allot of air moving like a convection oven but at a low temperature 90-110 degrees with multiple layers for volume in a dehydrator. Convection oven could only do little batches. It turned out a 12-14-tray dehydrator with thermostat control was perfect. I also wanted to penetrate 100% the salmon and that doesn’t often happen when doing large volumes. By creating a vacuum bag it forces the candy brine through the full depth of the salmon slices. The photo displays two ten-pound bags of salmon in a vacuum bag soaking in the brine. One of the biggest mistakes is to pour all the brine over the cut salmon hoping it will penetrate. It won’t, as all the pieces will adhere to each other. What I find efficient is to put all the salmon in large steel bowl and pour the brine over them and hand mixes all the pieces till all parts are wet. Once wet they will not stick together and the brine will want to travel through out the bag due to the vacuum. I flip the bags over every 12 hours. I normally let the salmon sit in the bags for 2 days but this time I left it for 3 days. WOW! What flavor.
Recipe for about 7 pounds: Never hurts to make lots of extra brine.
1 cup of light soy sauce (light soy is the saltiest)
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar (if not used increase the maple syrup another 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
Lots of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of lemon pepper (always add extra)
1/4-cup maple syrup
After the brine time drain the fish and place on racks to dry up a little. I generally allow them to dry minimum for a hour . Spray the trays of the dehydrator with a non-stick and place the salmon tight but without the pieces touching each other. Set dehydrator for 110 degrees for the first 24 hours and then drop to 90 degrees the second 24 hours. They should be hard by then and full of flavor.
Salmon pieces drying on a rack for an hour after being removed from the brine creates a glaze on the salmon. The first 24 hours I started with ten racks filled tight the salmon pieces nearly touching each other. This morning it is now reduce to 7 racks. The next 24 hours will be even more. You loose about 1/3 of the volume when you dehydrate them to the candy level. True candy salmon to me will be hard and full of flavor .
Very simple, Very easy to do, Very addicting. I have used this process also on brown trout and steelhead with amazing results.