This coconut curry salmon recipe is one of my favorite dishes to make on weeknights or when I am teetering on ordering takeout. Made with Thai red curry paste, coconut milk, and tender salmon, this highly flavorful dish can be yours in less than 30 minutes!
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Growing up, this coconut curry salmon with Thai red curry paste was in constant rotation at home. It makes for perfect low-effort, high-reward eats, great for meal prep, and the flavor is phenomenal when eaten the next day.
Why This Recipe Works
- Comforting dish – The warm flavors of the curry make this a comforting dish you can curl up to.
- Easy to make – This dish is perfect for when you want dinner in a flash and don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into making a meal.
- High in protein – This dish will keep you satiated until your next meal.
Ingredients You Will Need
- Salmon – Use boneless, skinless salmon fillets cut into 2 inch cubes.
- Oil – I tend to use ghee as I feel it heightens the flavor of the dish, but avocado oil works well, too.
- Aromatics – Ginger and garlic are sautéed just before adding curry paste.
- Thai red curry paste – Maesri brand, which is my go-to brand of curry paste.
- Brown sugar – Added to balance out the savory flavor and heat.
- Chicken broth – Added to thin out the sauce. Vegetable broth can also be used.
- Makrut leaves – Adds a lovely brightness and balances well with the rich curry flavors. Lime zest and juice also work as a fine substitute.
- Coconut milk – Be sure to use full-fat coconut milk, which is different than coconut milk from the carton.
- Fish sauce – added for a little depth and umami flavor.
What are Makrut Leaves?
Makrut or Kaffir limes and their leaves are used in a lot of Southeast Asian cuisine. Kaffir lime leaves are specifically used to add a bright citrus zing to Thai curries and stir frys and for me, an absolute must-have when I make this dish.
The use of this kaffir leaves adds vibrant flavor and a lovely aroma. Your best bet to locating these special leaves will be in the produce or frozen section of an Asian grocery store.
Just before adding kaffir leaves to curry, remove the vein or rib–the thick middle portion–from the leaf, and cut into thin strips.
To store, keep extra leaves in the freezer–they’ll keep for months!
Substitutions for Makrut Leaves
A great substitute for kaffir lime leaves is lime zest. Simply substitute ½-¾ zested lime and 1½ teaspoons lime juice to achieve similar bright flavor.
What Type of Curry Paste to Use
One item that my pantry is never without is curry paste. I’ve tried many, but one brand that I swear by is Maesri curry paste.
This recipe calls for using one can of Thai red curry paste. If you decide to use another brand, use 2-3 tablespoons.
What I love most about Maesri canned curry is that the ingredients list is strictly that of the spices and other pertinent ingredients that make the specific curry flavor–no preservatives or additives.
You can make your own curry paste if you prefer, but for those looking for a quick option and a curry paste that’s sure to please, check out Maesri. You can find the cans at most local Asian markets or check out it out here.
How to Make Coconut Curry Salmon
You are just steps away from making this Thai coconut curry salmon. What’s great about this recipe is that it is straightforward and goes quickly, so be sure to have prep ingredients before cooking.
- Sauté aromatics. In a skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add avocado oil and sauté ginger and garlic until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add curry paste. Add red curry paste and brown sugar and cook for 1 minute. Mix well with garlic-ginger mixture.
- Add liquids, then reduce Add coconut milk and broth. Stir well and bring to a low rolling boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid slightly reduces.
- Add salmon. Add salmon and cover skillet with lid. Simmer gently for 4 minutes.
- Last touches. Add makrut leaves (or lime zest and juice) and fish sauce. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Serve with rice and top with chopped cilantro.
What to Serve with Coconut Curry Salmon
Nothing beats serving curry salmon with jasmine rice to soak up all the delicious and warming curry flavor.
Tips, Tricks, and Customizations
- Can’t find Maesri curry paste? No worries, substitute with another Thai red curry paste and use 2-3 tablespoons.
- Change the protein. Feel free to substitute chicken or shrimp for salmon.
- Add vegetables. Stir in 4 cups of fresh baby spinach during the last minute of cooking if you want to add greens to this dish.
Looking for More Recipes with Curry?
Are You Loving This Recipe?
There’s a reason why this easy salon curry with coconut milk is a household favorite! Leave a comment below and share your love for this recipe on Instagram and Pinterest. We love to see you get down in the kitchen. Happy eating!
Coconut Curry Salmon
- 1½ pounds salmon fillets, skinless cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1½ tablespoons ghee or avocado oil
- 1½ tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
- 1½ tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
- 1 four ounce can Thai red curry paste, Maesri brand, if using a different brand, use 2-3 tablespoons curry paste
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 1¼ cups full-fat coconut milk, from a can, I use Aroy-D
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 large leaves makrut (or kaffir leaves), rib removed and cut into strips or ¾ lime zested plus 1½ teaspoons lime juice
- 4 cups baby spinach
- Chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges, for squeezing
- Jasmine rice
- Season cut salmon with kosher salt. Set aside.
- In a skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add ghee and sauté ginger and garlic until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add red curry paste and cook for 1 minute, using the back of a cooking spoon to press into the curry paste and mix well with the garlic-ginger mixture.
- Add brown sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add coconut milk and broth. Stir well and bring to a low rolling boil.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid slightly reduces. Add salmon and cover skillet with lid. Simmer gently for 4 minutes.
- Add makrut leaves (or lime zest and juice) and fish sauce and cook for 1 minute and add spinach (if using). Check to make sure salmon is cooked through and adjust seasoning with more fish sauce, if necessary.
- Serve with rice and top with chopped cilantro.