Salmon is our favorite fish to work on, not to mention it’s easy to obtain in the local market, it is also easy to work with using different cooking methods. This Thai-inspired Salmon Coconut Curry has tender pan-seared salmon in a creamy red curry coconut milk sauce. It’s flavorful and comforting!
It’s one of my favorite sauces. we can’t resist a good coconut milk sauce. It is a symphony of flavors dancing on your tastebuds with a symphony of Thai red curry paste, garlic, onion, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Rice is an excellent accompaniment to this coconut curry salmon. It worked out nicely to eat the leftover salmon cold the following day in a salad. Salmon is kept tender with coconut milk.
Pan-Sear vs Baked Salmon
The perfectly prepared fish is moist, flavorful, and succulent. Salmon is no exception. When fish is overcooked, it dries out and loses delicious flavor. Should you pan-sear or bake salmon? The answer is yes! You can fry or bake salmon, but you can also grill, poach, and broil it. All of these cooking options will leave your fish tasting amazing.
Pan-searing Salmon: Before cooking the salmon, rinse and pat the fillets dry before seasoning it with salt and pepper. Once the preheated pan is hot, add the olive oil to the pan. Place your salmon skin side up (this is important!) and set a timer for 3 minutes. You always start the skin side up because dry spices on the flesh can burn if cooked longer than 3 minutes. Flip the fillet and reduce the heat slightly (to about medium), and cover the pan with a lid. Set the timer for another 2-3 minutes, and you are done!
Baked Salmon: Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for a much easier clean-up. Place the salmon fillet on the baking sheet, skin side down. Brush the salmon with olive oil and season it well with salt and pepper. Bake the fillet for 10-15 minutes, and you are done!
What to take note to make it better?
- You don’t have to add fish sauce to the recipe, but if you haven’t tried it before, I strongly recommend it. It adds another layer of flavor to the dish, and don’t worry, the flavor mellows out a lot (it smells quite fishy out of the bottle). It also lasts a long time in the fridge.
- The coconut milk you buy really matters. We prefer full-fat coconut milk. It’s rich and creamy. Other brands I’ve found can be watery. You can find it in the Asian section of the grocery store along with the red curry paste and fish sauce.
This coconut milk salmon recipe can easily be adjusted to your tastes as needed… don’t be shy to add more of any ingredient – that’s what cooking is all about! If you’re not a fan of the veggies we used here, you can definitely swap them out for something different, just be sure they’re cut up small enough that they cook fast. Peas (or snow peas) come to mind as a tasty addition, red peppers would be delish, and you could even try cut-up asparagus (get the thin kind).
Salmon Curry Rice
1 1/2 lbs. salmon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (more for a larger filet)
1–2 teaspoons olive oil
- Coconut Curry Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 small knob of ginger (minced)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 can of coconut milk
2 tbsp of fish sauce or soy sauce
lots of lime juice and zest
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp of tomato paste
cilantro, basil, mint, or other fresh herbs
- Salmon: Mix the spices and the olive oil to make a paste. Place the salmon skin side down on the baking sheet. Rub the paste liberally over the top part of the salmon. Pan fry for 6-12 minutes (depending on the salmon thickness and desired doneness – I usually opt for 8-10 minutes).
- Coconut Curry Sauce: Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, onion, and red peppers; sauté for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and curry paste; sauté for 3 minutes. Add coconut milk. Season with fish sauce and lime juice to taste.
- Serve: Place salmon over rice. Cover with sauce, lime juice, and fresh herbs.