Salmon Coconut Curry



By Cat, Jan, 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Salmon has a great affinity with curry and fruit.  My recipe for Salmon with Curried Balsamic-Orange Glaze is a staple in my home, when wild salmon is available. And this recipe, with creamy coconut milk and curry spices is equally wonderful.

Use only wild-caught salmon, as always.  My favorite is from the Bristol Bay fishery in Alaska, but Copper River is good also, if overpriced.

See also: 1. Fish and Seafood Menu; 2. Asian Menu; 3. Coconut Milk; 4. Herbs & Spices: Curries, v-3

Coconut Salmon Curry

This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, January 2008 issue (1).  I prefer to use wild salmon which is only available during the warmer months of the year.  For the rest of the year, I purchase wild Alaskan salmon frozen right after being caught, from Norskstar Seafood in Whitefish, Montana (2015 update: this business is no longer in existence, so I purchased wild-caught frozen Alaskan salmon from my local grocer).

The original recipe requires skinning and cubing the raw salmon before cooking, but it’s hard to remove the skin from the raw fish. So I first cook the salmon with skin intact until rare, then remove the skin and cube the meat, then add to sautéed veggies with the coconut milk. This works well, and I’ve modified the recipe accordingly.

Serves 2 or more.

Notes on ingredients:

Cooking fat/oil: I do not recommend using nonstick cooking spray to sauté the veggies, nor canola oil to sauté the salmon (as in the original recipe); instead I prefer to use coconut oil or ghee in both instances. Unless Organic, seed oils such as canola are likely GMO; coconut oil or ghee are is more authentic for a curry dish. See Good Fats for Cooking for more on cooking fats/oils.

Flour/starch for dusting fish: Another potential GMO problem is cornstarch for dusting the fish (unless it’s Organic); I recommend using tapioca starch which is also more authentic for Asian recipes, or not dusting the fish at all.

Fruit: Incorporating fruit in curry recipes is very common in Asian recipes. The original uses pineapple chunks (8-oz can); since I’m allergic to pineapple, I use fresh Mandarin orange or tangerine sections, or fresh mango.

Coconut milk:  The original recipe uses lite coconut milk, which is a second pressing  and lacking in vital nutrients, so I don’t recommend that. My preference is to use regular coconut milk, as it produces a creamier, richer sauce (see Coconut Milk for instructions on making your own from fresh or desiccated coconut). Or you can dilute whole coconut milk with equal portion of filtered water; shake well before using.  Alternately, you can use my coconut milk as substitute for dairy milk recipe. DO NOT use sweetened coconut milk.

Curry: The original recipe uses ground curry powder (see Herbs & Spices: Curries if you want to make your own). Alternately, you can use ½ – 1 tsp Thai red or green curry paste, for a different flavor.  In this case, you will not need the crushed red pepper unless you like it really hot.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ½ lb. salmon fillet
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ large onion, cut in 1″ pieces
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, cut in bite-size strips
  • ½ cup carrots, julienned
  • ½ Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee, divided
  • ½ – 1 tsp ground curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup mandarine orange or tangerine sections, or 1 cup fresh pineapple sections (or 8 oz. can of either option)
  • ¼ cup regular (unsweetened) or diluted coconut milk (see notes on ingredients, above)
  • 1 cup steamed brown or white rice
  • sprigs of fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Equipment
  • 2 medium bowls
  • cast iron skillet


  1. Season salmon with salt & pepper; set aside.
  2. Clean bell pepper and remove seeds.  Cut into strips.  Clean and julienne the carrots.  Mince ginger & garlic.  Combine all in a bowl; set aside.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee in heavy cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook salmon, skin side down, about 3 minutes; turn over and cook on second side about 1 minutes. Remove from pan and remove skin. Cut meat into 1″ cubes, removing bones.
  4. Warm another Tbsp oil or ghee; add onion, bell pepper, carrots, ginger, garlic, curry powder/paste and, if desired, crushed red pepper.  Saute 5 – 6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  5. Add cubed fish. Stir in coconut milk and fruit sections; reduce heat and cook, uncovered, 1 minute or until thickened, stirring gently.
  6. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro.
  7. Serve with steamed rice.

Assembly or Serving Suggestions

  • Spoon the curried salmon into a serving bowl and garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro.  Pass with a bowl of steamed brown rice.
  • Serve with lightly wilted baby spinach leaves or chard sauteed with a bit of garlic in olive oil.


  1. Better Homes and Gardens, January 2008 recipe:

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