Salmon with a Thai Curry Sauce

By • April 6, 2013 19 Comments

568 + Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Author Notes: This is another one of those lovely dishes, originally found in a magazine or newspaper, and adapted over the years to fit various cooks' tastes and needs. In spite of the slightly fussy fish poaching step, it's a remarkably simple dish that bursts with flavor. Sweet, spicy, salty, and funky, it has all the flavors you expect from Thai cuisine, but with salmon being the unexpected star. The flavorful sauce pairs marvelously with a fruity, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc. fiveandspice

Serves 4

  • 1 pound salmon fillet (preferably wild caught), skin removed
  • 2/3 cup fruity white wine (like a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • One 1/2-inch thick slice of fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass, chopped into chunks (if you can't find lemongrass, sub a long strip each of lemon peel and lime peel)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion, divided
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or peanut oil
  • 3 teaspoons Madras curry powder (not Thai, I know, but it works)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • One 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Thai bird's eye or jalapeno pepper, speared in several places with a knife, but left whole (use up to 4 chilis for more heat)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups peas (fresh or frozen will work)
  • Cooked rice or rice noodles for serving
  • Chopped cilantro and mint for garnish
  1. In a deep stovetop pan that will snugly fit the salmon (you may want to cut the fillet into two pieces), combine the wine with 1 cup water, the slice of ginger, chopped lemongrass, and 2 tablespoons of chopped green onion, plus a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a bare simmer. Slip in the salmon and cook until it is just barely cooked (it should be rare in the center). Remove the salmon from the poaching liquid and cut it into approximately 1-inch chunks. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the peanut or coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining chopped green onion and stir in the curry powder. Cook, stirring, until the curry powder smells toasted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, then stir in the garlic, ginger, and brown sugar. Cook until the garlic is softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Now stir in the coconut milk, lime juice, hot pepper(s), and fish sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer the liquid for about 3 minutes.
  4. At this point, stir in the salmon chunks, gently breaking up a couple of them into smaller flakes. Cover the pan and cook, still over low heat, for 4 minutes. Uncover, and stir in the peas. Continue to simmer until the peas are just cooked through (3 to 4 minutes for frozen, about 4 to 5 for fresh). Taste and add more fish sauce (or salt) to taste.
  5. Serve the salmon and sauce over rice or rice noodles and sprinkle with chopped mint and cilantro to garnish.
💬 View Comments ()

Comments (19) Questions (0)


about 1 month ago Josie Marsh

We loved this. I used Scottish salmon which is pretty fatty (ie, very tasty!) and cut the sugar to 1 T. Did the lemon and lime peel substitution too. Very good!


3 months ago MegB

I hardly comment on recipes but just had to say how fantastic this is. My husband made it for us, because I've been sick, and he is not the usual chef in our house... but the result is just delicious, and so flavorful. Thanks so much!


4 months ago shortnsweet

Tried this with a hefty teaspoon of red curry paste along with 2 teaspoons of the madras, it was lovely. Not sure if the poaching did that much for the salmon, taste-wise, that wouldn't happen if you just cooked it in the broth, but the end result was really tasty.


7 months ago Hiromi Motojima

This was very good! But I am not sure if I needed to cook salmon this way. Like somebody commented, I think I can just use grilled salmon and it would taste fine. I will make bigger batch next time and freeze half of it, so I can just add salmon or seafood, or shrimp to it.


12 months ago Peggy Horne

Doesn't this make the Salmon well done? The recipe sounds great but we like our Salmon rare.


12 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

It does make the salmon well done. You could try cooking the salmon to taste and cooking the sauce separately and just pouring it over/serving it onthe side of the salmon.


about 1 year ago Lisa Yeager

This worked well using grilled salmon leftovers as well, although next time I do that I will increase the quantity of all the spices and lime juice, and decrease the sweetener. (If using cooked salmon, avoid over-cooking by cooking it rare to med-rare the first time, then add with the peas and cook just until heated through.


about 1 year ago Petite fee

Ok, thank you. I didn't see it in the recipe before.


about 1 year ago Petite fee

Great flavor but when does the wine go in? should I have poached the fish in wine instead of the 1 cup of water as it mentions in the instructions?
Thank you..


about 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

You combine the wine with 1 cup of water to make the poaching liquid. But, it also totally works to poach the salmon in plain old water.


over 1 year ago LaCeleste

Is it OK to substitute garam masala for the curry powder? Never could quite figure out the difference...


over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

No, garam masala is a very different blend of spices from curry powder. Curry powder has lots of turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, peppercorns, and a variety of other spices while garam masala is really heavy on the cardamom and cinnamon with some cumin and coriander and a couple other spices.


over 1 year ago SE

I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious. Was a little skeptical of the madras curry powder, but it tastes like a Thai curry (and I've made my share of curry pastes). Perfect weeknight dinner. We'll be enjoying it again in the future. Thanks for sharing.


over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.



over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

On my must-try list. I have some lemongrass stock (homemade, in my freezer) so this will be a snap. I know it's going to be a winner here. ;o)


almost 2 years ago JSP

This looks perfect for a hot summer evening meal, will definitely try it!


almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

It definitely is. Hope you enjoy it!


about 2 years ago sel et poivre

this looks absolutely gorgeous! must try soon!!


about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you! It's one of our dinner staples. Definitely a favorite.