Thai Salmon Curry with Vegetables

Salmon Curry

One of the barriers to eating the recommended two to three servings of fish a week is that many folks don’t know how to buy it or what to do once it’s home. It can seem easier to opt for a tried and true chicken breast than explore the unchartered waters of the fish case. So, before I launch into today’s recipe for Thai Salmon Curry, I thought I’d pass on a few pointers.

Buying Fresh Fish

When I buy fish, it’s typically at a neighborhood shop where I trust what they stock. Even still, I always consider what looks best in the case that’s within budget. I often shift gears when I’m at the market. For example, if the tuna I had planned to buy doesn’t look up to snuff, I’ll find another fish that suits by needs. Here are a few more helpful tips:

  • Get the scoop. Talk to your fishmonger about what’s on offer. Find out if anything was locally caught, what fish came in that day, and what they recommend. 
  • Have a good look. Fresh fish should sort of glisten, be moist and taut. If it looks dull, dried out, or mushy, find another option.
  • Give it a sniff. Your fishmonger will (hopefully) allow you to take a whiff of a fish from the case. It shouldn’t be stinky, but have a clean smell that reminds you of the sea.
  • Keep it cold. Get your fish into the fridge as quickly as you can. If it’s a warm day, ask your retailer for a bag of ice to keep things cold during transportation.
  • Cook it soon. Ideally, cook fish the day you buy it. The fresher the better.

Frozen Fish Tips

While nothing beats good quality fresh fish, frozen is a terrific, convenient, and often more economical option. Here’s what you should know:

  • Inspect it. Give frozen fish a pass if you see excessive ice crystals or freezer burn. 
  • Defrost it right. The best way to thaw fish is gently, in the refrigerator, which can take several hours or overnight, depending on the thickness of the fish. If you don’t have the time for a slow thaw, immerse the frozen fish, still in it’s plastic, in a bowl of cold water.

Speaking of frozen fish, it’s a good way to go for a dish like this Thai Salmon Curry. You cook the fish right in the broth, which results in a very tender piece of salmon that gets infused with the flavors of coconut milk and curry. It’s an immensely nourishing meal, full of those healthy Omega-3 fats, vitamin D (which many of us don’t get enough of), and loads of other nutrients.

If you’re looking for more fish recipes, check out Miso and Ginger Glazed Salmon or Fish Fillets with Lemon Caper Sauce, both favorites in our house. 

salmon curry
5 from 2 votes

Red Thai Curry with Salmon and Vegetables

This is the sort of supper that will make you look like a real pro in the kitchen, yet nobody needs to know how easy it is to prepare. The combination of red curry paste and coconut milk is a magical one. The salmon gently cooks in the sauce, resulting in supremely tender fish that is as pretty to look at as it is tasty to eat. Serve with steamed brown rice or noodles. 

Course Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 495 kcal
Author katiemorford


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 pound fresh salmon fillets
  • One 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 large sweet potato (8 ounces), scrubbed and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • Large handful baby spinach


  1. In a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion and saute until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes.
  2. While the onions cook, pull any tiny bones from the salmon (tweezers can be useful for this). Cut into four equal pieces. Set aside.
  3. When the onions are tender, add the coconut milk, water, curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce, and stir until the ingredients are blended and the sauce is smooth. Add the sweet potato, stir, and turn the heat to high. When the liquid boils, drop the heat until it simmers, put on the lid, and cook the sweet potato until it is just tender, about 8 minutes.
  4. Nestle the 4 salmon pieces, skin side up, down into sauce surrounded by the sweet potato. Return the lid to the pot and simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Use a spatula to gently turn the salmon over. Add the zucchini to the pot, doing your best to nestle it into the sauce. Return the lid and simmer until the salmon is done (it will be opaque in color and easily pull apart, about 3 minutes more (the time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish and it will continue to cook a bit even once it’s off the heat). Scatter the spinach over the curry and cover again with the lid. The spinach will wilt quickly.
  6. Serve in shallow bowls.

I developed this recipe in collaboration with the National Fisheries Institute, which compensated me for my work.

salmon curry


01.23.2017 at 4:17 AM #

Ejiekpe Michael

Hllo there my name is Chef Michael, am. A Nigerian and love this salmon meal however we do not have zucchini here in Nigeria so what other veg can do the trick? Blss

01.23.2017 at 4:17 AM #


Hi Chef Michael, so nice to hear from a reader all the way in Nigeria! This recipe really lends itself to substitution, so feel free to use any vegetable you like…carrots, sweet peppers, potatoes, etc. If it’s a longer-cooking vegetables like the sweet potatoes, just be sure to add it to the broth earlier to make sure it has time to cook through. Best of luck!

01.23.2017 at 5:49 AM #

Alison eastwood

Yummy! I’ve been sending out the vibes for a new salmon dish to cook with my kids.

01.23.2017 at 5:49 AM #


Your wish is my command 🙂

01.24.2017 at 11:51 AM #


Mmmmmmm – I just printed this out and will make it this week or next. We always love a new Katie Morford recipe!!

01.24.2017 at 11:51 AM #


Oh good. Hope you like it!

09.13.2017 at 6:38 PM #


Yum! Substituted with yellow curry because that’s what I had on hand. Kids ate it up over rice. Thanks!

09.13.2017 at 6:38 PM #


Awesome! Did you use curry paste or powder…just curious. I always like to know how people adapt these recipes.

09.13.2017 at 7:23 PM #


Trying this tomorrow! It looks delicious but I am worried that 2 TBSP of red curry paste will be too spicy for my crew. I use the Thai Kitchen brand. Would green curry paste work as a substitute?

09.13.2017 at 7:23 PM #


Yes, you can use either. You can also just start with less, taste it, and add more depending on taste. That’s often how I do it.

01.14.2018 at 7:04 AM #

Jen Suereth

Hi! What other types of fish could you use in this dish? Thanks!

01.14.2018 at 7:04 AM #


I think most firm white fish would work. I have made it with halibut and it was a success.

02.03.2018 at 8:04 PM #

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I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your
website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it
better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having
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04.03.2019 at 10:36 PM #

Melanie De Leon

This recipe is 🔥!!!
I’m passing this to my daughter

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