Asian Salmon Burger with Homemade Pickled Ginger

Asian Salmon BurgerIf you like the spicy, vinegary bite of pickled ginger, then it’s a condiment you easily could, and should, make at home. Scan the labels of pickled ginger next time you’re at the grocery store and you’re likely to find ingredient lists that include artificial pink dye, aspartame or lots of sugar.

Using three ingredients at home – ginger, rice vinegar and honey – and a very simple method, you can make your own pickled ginger in about 20 minutes. Give it another 24 hours for flavor to develop and the pickled ginger is ready to eat. It keeps almost indefinitely, so just stash it in the refrigerator door with your other refrigerated condiments.

Besides sushi, what else can pickled ginger be used for? Toss it into a glass of sparkling water, chop it up into a fruit salad or green salad, use it as a topping for tamari marinated steaks or burgers, mix it with shredded cabbage and avocado, or, use it as a garnish for these Asian Salmon Burgers. Made without any added filler or binder (like breadcrumbs or eggs), these salmon burgers are moist and juicy with pure wild salmon flavor. Shiitake mushrooms, green onions and coconut aminos add extra flavor that pairs perfectly with a mound of pickled ginger on top.

Note that this recipe uses a lot less sweetener than most recipes for homemade pickled ginger do. The result is ginger with a slightly bolder, spicier, more intense flavor.

Servings: 6 burgers

Time in the Kitchen: 45 minutes, plus 24 hours to pickle the ginger



  • 5 ounces ginger root (150 grams) (equal to about 1 cup of very thinly sliced ginger)
  • 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar (240 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (30 ml)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless salmon cut into 1-inch cubes (680 g)
  • 12 fresh shitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos (45 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (2.5 ml)


Ideally, make the ginger at least a day before you plan to eat it. The pickled ginger will keep for months or more in the refrigerator.

Peel the ginger then shave it into very thin pieces. To do this, use a mandoline, vegetable peeler and/or sharp knife. You should end up with about 1 cup of shaved ginger.

Ginger - Step 1

Whisk together the vinegar and honey in a small bowl or jar.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the ginger, and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain, and transfer ginger to the bowl with the vinegar and honey. Let cool then cover and refrigerate in its brine.

Ginger - Step 2

Ginger - Step 3

To make the salmon burgers, first sauté the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat in a little bit of oil until the mushrooms are lightly browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Place 1/4 of the salmon pieces in the food processor and blend until it’s a smooth paste. Add the rest of the salmon, mushrooms and garlic, green onions, coconut aminos and salt. Pulse, stopping to mix and scrape down the sides, until the salmon pieces are about 1/4-inch/6 mm in size. Don’t process the salmon so much that it all becomes a smooth paste; it should be a little chunky.

Salmon - Step 1

Salmon - Step 2

Shape into 6 patties.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side, until there is no raw, dark pink salmon in the middle.

Serve on a bed of lettuce and top with pickled ginger.

Salmon Burger with Pickled Ginger

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21 thoughts on “Asian Salmon Burger with Homemade Pickled Ginger”

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  1. I haven’t tried pickling ginger, but it sounds good. One thing we do with ginger to make it more convenient to use is juice a couple of hands’ worth. I put the juice in a bottle in the refrigerator and we have instant ginger for tea or cooking or whatever else you use it for. While I don’t like to juice many things because I want to keep the fiber in fruits and vegetables I don’t think there’s any great loss with this use.

  2. This looks incredible and I’m a huge salmon fan – eat is almost every day. Trying this for lunch one day next week.

  3. Thanks Mark; that looks delicious. For additional Asian flavor, try adding some chopped Cilantro. The pickled ginger recipe is a winner and will be incorporated. When fresh Salmon isn’t available, I make burgers out of canned wild salmon and use classic Old Bay seasonings.

  4. I regularly prepare picked ginger which I add to my salads to add an extra strong “spicy” taste. It is also a good seasoning for smoked salmon, boiled chicken and, of course, sushi (for those couple of times per year I decide to do it, mostly to impress guests).

    In my experience, pickled ginger must age at least one week, one day is definitely not enough. Another good trick is to use rice vinegar, but yes, cider vinegar is fine, too. It must be stored in the refrigerator and will last 3 weeks, after that the taste will start to fade, to the point it will taste just like any gari you buy in a ethnic shop, next to the nori seaweed sheets.

    Finally, I do not add sugars (but it is a personal choice, I like it hot). No need for salt or other herbs/spices, they will be eclipsed by the ginger anyway 🙂

  5. Sob! My lovely chunk of ginger turned out to be really fibrous- so I may end up with something akin to a pickled ginger tasting pan scourer. Will give it a week like primal Alex suggested, maybe that will soften it up a bit. Smells awesome, hope it works! 🙂

  6. I am in love with the taste of ginger in any form! Ginger is healthy and good for stomach. Salmon Burger with homemade pickled Ginger is a wonderful idea but I haven’t tried this at home. So thank you and love you so much for sharing this recipe. I am going to make it for sure 🙂

  7. Wow Mark, definitely going to be trying this out tonight. Nothing like a good meal packed with protein!

  8. Slightly off-topic, but I regularly put minced ginger into my sauerkraut, so it actually gets fermented (although not by itself). It adds a nice surprise to a bite of sauerkraut.

    1. Me too (-: Try adding thin slices of granny smith apple.

    2. Raw sauerkraut already clears my sinuses. Adding ginger would clear out the other end of my body, too.

  9. Has anyone tried this recipe with canned salmon? Just read post about farmed versus wild salmon and want to stay away from that PCB laden farmed stuff. Canned salmon more likely to be wild.

  10. Wow. I made this tonight with a green salad with an Asian-inspired salad dressing and green beans and garlic sautéed in duck fat, sesame oil, and tamari. I went through the trouble to make the ginger and I’m SO glad i did! Definitely a keeper recipe! Try it! (Plus, my picky 5 year old gobbled it up!)

  11. I made this tonight. The ginger is soooo good!! I was out of honey, so I used maple syrup. I also ran out of rice vinegar, so I used some white wine vinegar too. It still turned out really good. The salmon burgers turned out super tasty. They were really moist, so I was sure they were going to fall apart when I cooked them,, but they stayed together and turned out super delicious. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  12. Drink the water from the blanched ginger instead of tossing it, just add a bit of honey and you’ve got a very tasty ginger tea.