Salmon with a Thai Curry Sauce

By • April 6, 2013 • 12 Comments

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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 cups 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 cup 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.

Comments (12) Questions (0)


7 days ago Petite fee

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


7 days 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..


7 days 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.


11 days ago LaCeleste

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


10 days 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.


about 1 month 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.


10 days ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.



2 months 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)


9 months ago JSP

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


9 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

It definitely is. Hope you enjoy it!


12 months ago sel et poivre

this looks absolutely gorgeous! must try soon!!


12 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

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