Thai-inspired coconut curry salmon with red curry paste, ginger, garlic and lemongrass. The salmon is poached in curried coconut milk and served over rice for a melt-in-your-mouth, weeknight dinner ready in under 15 minutes.
Get dinner on the table in just 15 minutes. I’m not kidding! This recipe uses flavourful Thai red curry paste and coconut milk to gently poach salmon fillets for tender, flaky and perfectly cooked salmon every time.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian curry, I like to make a vegetable chickpea curry.
Why this recipe works
Poaching is such an easy way to cook fish! It’s a moist heat cooking technique, where food is submerged and cooked in a liquid at a lower temperature than a boil or simmer. It’s ideal for cooking more delicate ingredients, like salmon.
The salmon is cooked in the curried coconut milk, which is then spooned over top of the fish when served.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Salmon fillets, skin-on or skinless is fine. The skin won’t be crispy and delicious, so you probably won’t end up eating it anyway. Opt for salmon fillets that are even in size, about 1″ thick. This ensures they will cook evenly.
- Canola oil is a neutral oil and perfect for cooking the aromatics without adding any additional flavor notes.
- Ginger and garlic are aromatics used to flavor the coconut milk.
- Red Thai curry paste, use your favorite brand here! This recipe only calls for 2 tbsp, but you could absolutely add more for a stronger curry flavor. If you want to make a curry with curry powder, you’d be making more of an Indian-style curry like my sweet potato lentil curry.
- Fish sauce adds umami flavor to the curry sauce.
- Lemongrass adds delicious floral notes to the dish. Make sure to trim the wooden end trimmed and remove the starchy outer layers. Use the back of your knife or a rolling pin to smash and bruise the stalk to release the aromatic oils.
- Coconut milk I always go for full-fat coconut milk.
- Lime helps to brighten the curry coconut milk at the end.
- The key to poaching fish is to make sure that your temperature doesn’t get too high–you don’t want the liquid to boil as this will overcook the fish. You’ll know the salmon is ready when it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Generally for a 1″ thick piece of salmon it will take about 6-8 minutes.
- When the fillets are done cooking, be sure to remove them from the coconut milk or they will continue cooking and end up overcooked.
- You’ll want to cook the garlic, ginger and curry paste before adding the coconut milk. This will allow the curry paste to start to caramelize, adding extra flavor to the salmon coconut curry.
- Lemongrass is a sturdy and woody herb which means you can’t just add it directly to the broth. The key is to cut trim off the silky tops and woody bases, and bruise the stalks (smash with the back of a knife or a wooden spoon) to release the aromatic oils.
More easy weeknight salmon recipes
- Baked Salmon Patties uses canned salmon, so it’s a budget-friendly weeknight recipe.
- Miso Salmon in Parchment one of my favorite ways to cook salmon is another gentle cooking method–steaming!
Poached Salmon in Curried Coconut Milk
- 4 fillets salmon, 4-6oz each or 113-170g (about 1” thick)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp canola oil, or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 398 mL can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 stalk lemongrass, wooden end trimmed and starchy outer layers peeled, bruised (smashed with a rolling pin to release the oils)
- Cilantro for garnish, optional
- Season salmon evenly with salt.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add oil, ginger and garlic. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds-1 minute. Stir in curry paste, and cook, stirring frequently for another minute.
- Pour in coconut milk, add fish sauce and lemongrass and stir to combine with curry paste. Coconut milk mixture should become pinkish in colour. Bring to a very low simmer, there should be one or two bubbles surfacing. Reduce heat to low.
- Carefully place salmon fillets, skin side up, into the coconut milk. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until salmon is fully cooked.
- Remove salmon from coconut milk. Discard lemongrass.
- Serve over rice with extra sauce and garnish with cilantro.
- You can add extra curry paste if you are looking for a stronger curry flavor.
- Be careful not to heat the liquid too much, you want a super low simmer, there should be about one or two bubbles forming.
- After the fish is cooked, you can remove it from the sauce to stop it from cooking. Serve with additional sauce poured over top.
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