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coconut curry salmon on top of rice on black plate.
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4.66 from 49 votes

Coconut Curry Salmon (30 Minutes)

Salmon gets an Asian flare in this coconut curry salmon dish. It makes a spicy, flavorful, delicious meal in just 30 minutes. Great for a busy weeknight or company.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai-Style
Servings (change as needed): 3 (or 2 bigger portions)
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup/52g)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes with juices from 14-ounce can Or use tomato sauce if you like.
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk from can
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups baby spinach, fresh (optional)
  • 1 pound salmon fillets, skin removed (2-3 fillets)

Seasonings and Aromatics

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


  • SAUTE: Heat oil in large skillet to medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, ginger and all seasonings. Stir and sauté until fragrant for another 1-2 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 heat and simmer, uncovered for 8-10 minutes until slightly thickened. Add fresh spinach, if using, and stir until wilted for an additional minute.
  • POACH SALMON: Remove salmon skin with a sharp knife and blot with a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture. Add salmon to skillet and spoon sauce on top of it. Cover skillet and simmer on medium low heat for 5 minutes. Then turn off heat and let it sit for 5 minutes, covered, 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. Or with warm crusty bread.


  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.
      • try a vegetarian version with cooked pasta, tofu or gnocchi.
    • Sauce variations:
      • Add other vegetables when sauteing the onions such as sliced bell pepper or mushrooms.
      • Play around with the amounts of spices, herbs and aromatics to achieve the best flavors for you.
      • 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 spice by adjusting the red curry paste.
      • Instead of cilantro, use parsley.
      • Substitute fresh spinach with frozen (you will need about 1/4 of a 10-ounce package)
      • try poaching the salmon portions in this spicy cherry tomato sauce instead of the curry sauce if you love middle eastern flavors.
    • Garnish variations:
      • For an additional fresh pop of flavor, you can add a squeeze of fresh lime juice or fresh lime zest to the sauce.
  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 recipe is used for 2 servings only. 
Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 649mg | Potassium: 1226mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2488IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 4mg