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Coconut Curry Salmon

Salmon gets an Asian flare in this coconut curry salmon recipe. Spicy and flavorful. It makes a simple weeknight or company meal in just 30 minutes. 

The coconut curry sauce plays a starring role in this dish. The salmon is poached right in the sauce.

Tomato Coconut Curry Poached Salmon

Poaching fish is a wonderful way to keep it soft and moist. You simply submerge and cook the fish in liquid – in this case the sauce – at a gentle heat. 

The salmon is somewhat masked by the bold flavored sauce, so this dish may be a great option for those who don’t love salmon.

As always, there are lots of variations you could try. For example, shrimp or any white fish will work (I could just as easily have called this recipe coconut curry fish) and vegetarian version are an option as well. For those with diet restrictions, coconut curry salmon is a dairy free and gluten free recipe.  

Serving suggestions: I suggest serving the the salmon over Basmati or Jasmine rice, pasta or quinoa. I have even served it in a bowl with crispy homemade garlic croutons or with fresh warm crusty bread to soak up the sauce. For a lighter side dish, you can serve it over cauliflower ‘rice’ stir fry or with easy roasted bok choy and broccoli

The coconut curry sauce

As I said, this poached salmon recipe is really all about the sauce which is healthy, creamy, spicy and full of flavor from the onion, garlic, tomatoes, ginger, curry and coconut milk. You can even turn it into a soup or pasta topping. 

I adapted the sauce from an old Food & Wine recipe. The only changes I made were substituting red curry paste for a jalapeno pepper, cutting down on the coconut milk and adding fresh spinach for color and extra nutrients.

Tailor To Your Taste

Here are a few variations and substitutions you could try:

  • Instead of salmon
    •  poach shrimp for 3-4 minutes in the sauce
    • poach a different fish such as halibut or cod or any white fish fillet.
    • use cooked boneless chicken and add at the end once the coconut curry sauce is made
    • try a vegetarian version with cooked pasta, tofu or gnocchi.
  • Instead of coconut curry sauce
  • Add other vegetables when sauteing the onions such as red pepper or mushrooms.
  • Instead of cilantro, use parsley.
  • If you don’t have diced tomatoes, crush up whole canned tomatoes (I use my hands) or, in a pinch, use a plain Marinara tomato sauce. 
  • Add more or less spicy heat by adjusting the red curry paste. 

Make Ahead 

  • Make the sauce 4-5 days ahead and keep it in the fridge. When ready to serve, heat the sauce, add the spinach (if using) and then poach the salmon for 6-8 minutes.

Other curry recipes with coconut milk you might like

How to make Coconut Curry Salmon

salmon, seasonings, curry, red curry paste, garlic, ginger, cilantro, oil, chopped onion, fresh baby spinach, coconut milk, diced tomatoes
Ingredients: salmon, seasonings, curry, red curry paste, garlic, ginger, cilantro, oil, chopped onion, fresh baby spinach, coconut milk, diced tomatoes
poached salmon in coconut curry sauce in pan
Stir in spinach to wilt. Poach salmon in the sauce, covered, for about 5 minutes at medium low, then 5 minutes with the heat off. 
coconut curry salmon over rice in on plate
Serve over rice, pasta or quinoa.

coconut curry salmon over rice in a bowl p

Coconut Curry Salmon over rice in a bowl ff
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4.53 from 21 votes

Coconut Curry Salmon

Salmon gets an Asian flare in this coconut curry salmon recipe. Spicy with lots of flavor. It makes a simple weeknight or company meal in just 30 minutes. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai-Style
Servings: 3 (or 2 bigger portions)
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup/52g)
  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) diced tomatoes with juices from can (or 14 ounce can) Or use tomato sauce if you like.
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) unsweetened coconut milk from can
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups (60g) baby spinach, fresh (optional)
  • 1 lb (0.45kg) salmon fillets, skin removed (2-3 fillets)

Seasonings and Aromatics

  • 2 tsp minced garlic (1 clove or 2 frozen cubes)
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp ginger powder or 2 frozen cubes)
  • 1/2 tbsp red curry paste pretty spicy (use less if you want)
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Instructions

  • SAUTE: Heat oil in skillet to medium high. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, ginger and all seasonings. Stir and saute until fragrant for anther 2 minutes.
  • ADD LIQUIDS AND SIMMER: Add diced tomatoes with juices, coconut milk and cilantro. (If using whole tomatoes, crush by hand). Bring to boil, then lower to medium and simmer, uncovered for 8-10 minutes until slightly thickened. Add spinach if using and stir until wilted, 1 minute.
  • POACH SALMON: Add salmon and cover it with sauce. Cover skillet and simmer on medium low for 5 minutes. Then turn off heat and let it sit for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Tip: If salmon is not an even thickness, the thin part will cook more quickly, so cut that off and add the thin part for just a few minutes toward the end of cooking. Note 1. Serve in bowls over rice, pasta or quinoa.

Notes

  1. How to tell if salmon is cooked: Salmon will be opaque and warm pink in the middle and you will be able to separate the flesh easily with a sharp knife with no resistance. It should not be white and flaky - this is a sign of over cooked fish. 
  2. Variations and substitutions
    • Instead of salmon
      •  poach shrimp for 3-4 minutes in the sauce
      • poach a different fish such as halibut or cod or any white fish fillet.
      • use cooked boneless chicken and add at the end once the coconut curry sauce is made
    • For a vegetarian version, use the sauce with cooked pasta, tofu or gnocchi.
    • Add other vegetables when you are sauteing the onions such as red pepper or mushrooms.
    • Instead of diced tomatoes, use tomato sauce e.g. Marinara or whole tomatoes crushed by your hands
  3. Make Ahead: The sauce can be made 4-5 days ahead and kept in the fridge. When ready to serve, heat the sauce, add the spinach (if using) and then poach the salmon as per the recipe.
  •  
Nutrition values are estimates for 3 portions. They will be higher if the full coconut curry salmon recipe for 2 servings only. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Coconut Curry Salmon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 392 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 83mg28%
Sodium 649mg28%
Potassium 1226mg35%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 2488IU50%
Vitamin C 20mg24%
Calcium 94mg9%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Coconut curry salmon, originally published in 2018, has been updated with new pictures and information. Also, I better portioned the the amount of sauce to the salmon. It was originally doubled to have leftovers for other uses (which you can still do if you like). 

 

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