Have a restaurant-quality meal ready in less than 30 minutes with this Salmon Curry in Coconut Milk recipe, loaded with flavor and so easy to make! Simply whisk together a homemade curry spice blend, sear the fish, and then simmer in the coconut milk curry sauce until the fish is ultra tender and flaky. This dish is perfect for a busy weeknight meal.
Salmon Curry in Coconut Milk
I can’t get enough curry in my house!
And, since I tend to avoid dairy products, coconut milk curries are often on my menu. Go-to favorites include Thai Green Chicken Curry, Slow Cooker Chicken Curry, Massaman Chicken Curry, Pumpkin Curry, and now this salmon curry recipe.
Enjoy all of the rich and decadent flavors found in a traditional curry, but with a Thai-style spin by using coconut milk.
This curry recipe is a wonderful way to sneak in a bunch of vegetables. Not to mention you also get your daily dose of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, too.
It is fabulous served over a bed of fluffy rice or cauliflower rice to soak up the creamy coconut curry sauce for a satisfying low-carb meal.
Table of Contents
- Salmon. The first thing to look for when buying fish is that it is WILD and not farm-raised. Wild fish are healthier for you while also having a less fishy taste. Next, purchasing FRESH and not previously frozen will also give you the best flavor. King, Coho, and Sockeye salmon are commonly wild-caught varieties and are generally easy to find. Verlasso salmon is a sustainably farm-raised option that tastes incredible, too.
- Onion. Either a sweet or white onion will work in this recipe.
- Bell pepper. Red, green, or yellow bell peppers can all be used.
- Spinach. Regular or baby spinach will work. You may also switch out the spinach for finely chopped kale.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic is key for the best taste. Simply use a garlic press to get perfectly crushed garlic.
- Ginger. Ginger paste is the most convenient option, and still gives that fresh ginger flavor.
- Curry powder. A blend made from a wide variety of spices often including coriander, cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. You can easy make your own curry powder or grab a bottle at the store.
- Turmeric. The bright orange spice offers a warm, earthy flavor.
- Coriander. Made from the seed of the cilantro plant, this spice has a floral and somewhat lemony taste.
- Sugar. Coconut or brown sugar can both be used or left out completely if on a Whole30 diet.
- Coconut Milk. Canned, full fat coconut milk is preferred but lite coconut milk can be substituted. DO NOT use the coconut milk that comes in a container in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
How to Make Salmon Curry
Please see the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and more detailed instructions.
Sear the Salmon
Start by cutting the fresh salmon fillets into 5 smaller pieces so they cook quickly and consistently.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or avocado oil to a large skillet over medium heat or medium-high heat. You want enough room to easily fit all of the meat, veggies, and sauce.
Place the salmon fillets in the skillet, and pan sear for 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Use a fish spatula to remove the salmon from the pan. You can easily remove the salmon skin at this point if you’d like. This extra step of first searing until golden brown ensures the is crispy on the outside, but still flaky and tender in the middle.
Cook the Veggies
Add the second tablespoon of oil to the hot pan, then stir in the sliced onion and bell peppers.
Sauté the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes, just until they start to become tender.
Then, stir the minced garlic and ginger paste and cook for another minute.
Make the Spice Mix
In a small bowl, combine the salt, curry powder, turmeric, coriander, and sugar (if using).
Use a whisk to ensure the spices are combined. You can adjust the levels according to your taste.
Bring It Together
Carefully stir the spice mix, chili paste, coconut milk, and lime juice into the vegetables in the skillet. Stir well.
Bring the creamy coconut sauce to a full boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Use a spatula or tongs to place the pan-seared salmon fillets back into the skillet, then cover it with a lid. Cook the salmon curry for 10 to 12 more minutes, just until the flaky salmon is cooked through.
Just before serving the Thai coconut salmon curry, stir in the chopped spinach. It’s delicious over rice or cauliflower rice (if you’re low-carb) and garnished with fresh cilantro (or other fresh herbs).
How can I make curry spicy?
You can add ground chile peppers or fresh chiles to make the curry spicier.
What fish is suitable for curry?
In addition to wild salmon and shrimp, whitefish like cod, sea bass, and haddock make great curries.
Yes, canned coconut milk is much thicker than refrigerated coconut milk and will result in the best taste and consistency. Avoid light coconut milk if possible.
Yes, for a lower-fat option use lite coconut milk instead of full fat. Note, this coconut curry salmon dish won’t be as creamy, though.
Fresh, never frozen wild-caught salmon is preferred. However, Verlasso is a great tasting, sustainably farmed option.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Mix it up. Try making this recipe with shrimp instead of salmon.
- Include more veggies. Get a flavor and nutrition boost by including vegetables such as carrots, squash, or broccoli.
- Make it a meal. Serve over basmati rice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.
- Full-fat for flavor. Opt for full-fat coconut milk over a lite for the best-tasting dish.
- Peel after searing. The skin on the salmon can be removed easily once it has been partially cooked.
- Add some heat. If you like your curry spicy, add fresh or ground chiles.
What to Serve with Salmon Curry?
When you’re ready to dig into a bowl of this curry, there are a few things you can pair it with to make it an even better weeknight dinner.
(Check out if Brown Rice is Healthier than White Rice!)
More Salmon Recipe Ideas
Looking for a variety of ways to enjoy this healthy fish? Give these recipes a try!
Salmon Burgers are the perfect way to shake up a BBQ.
Or, make this 5-Minute Smoked Salmon Dip as an appetizer.
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Salmon Curry in Coconut Milk
- 1 ¼ lbs. salmon cut into 5 filets*
- 2 Tbsp. oil olive or avocado
- ½ sweet onion thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- ½ tsp. ginger paste or grated ginger
- 1 tsp. salt to taste
- 1 ½ Tbsp. curry powder
- ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1 Tbsp. coconut sugar or brown sugar, optional
- 1 tsp. chili garlic paste
- 15 oz. can coconut milk full fat*
- 1 lime juice
- 2 cups spinach coarsely chopped
- Sear Salmon. In a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of oil and salmon filets. Sear salmon for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove salmon from skillet.1 ¼ lbs. salmon, 2 Tbsp. oil
- Cook Veggies. Add remaining tablespoon of oil along with the sliced onion and bell pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables start to get tender. Stir in crushed garlic and ginger paste and saute for 1 minute.2 Tbsp. oil, ½ sweet onion, 1 red bell pepper, 2 cloves garlic, ½ tsp. ginger paste
- Make the Spice Mix. In a separate small bowl whisk together the salt, curry powder, turmeric, coriander, and sugar (if using).1 tsp. salt, 1 ½ Tbsp. curry powder, ¼ tsp. ground turmeric, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 Tbsp. coconut sugar
- Bring it Together. Add spice mix, chili paste, coconut milk, and lime juice to the skillet and stir to combine. Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Place the salmon filets back into the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook salmon curry for 10-12 minutes or until salmon is cooked through. Stir in chopped spinach just before serving.1 tsp. chili garlic paste, 15 oz. can coconut milk, 1 lime, 2 cups spinach
- Serve salmon curry over rice or cauliflower rice with cilantro and enjoy!
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- You can choose to leave the skin on the salmon or take it off after searing (I find it comes off more easily after this point.)
- Lite coconut milk can be substituted, but the sauce will be thinner and not quite as flavorful. Do not use the refrigerated coconut milk, it will not give you the same results as the canned milk.
Dietary ModificationsThis recipe is already gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:
- Whole30: Simply leave out the sugar to make this recipe Whole30 compliant.
- Lower Fat: Use a lite coconut milk instead of the full-fat option.
- Low-Carb: Leave out the sugar for a low-carb main dish.
Meal Prep and Storage
- To Prep-Ahead: Wash and cut the veggies, and mix the dry spices. Store separately until ready to use.
- To Store: Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Keep the spinach separate and stir in just before serving.
- To Freeze: This is not recommended as the texture of the salmon will change.
- To Reheat: Warm on the stovetop for 5-10 minutes over medium-low heat.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.