This 30-minute Thai Red Curry Fish Recipe is full of restaurant-quality flavor and you can make it in your own kitchen any night of the week!
One of my favorite ways to spend an evening is at a local Thai restaurant with my husband. Panang curry was my first love and long-time standby. These days, I love ordering it with shrimp or salmon. The sweetness of the coconut milk adds perfect balance to the spicy chilis and savory ginger and lemongrass in the curry paste. The seafood takes well to this balanced sauce and the fresh veggies, making for a flawless dish.
I’ve recreated all this magic at home for this 30-minute recipe. Salmon is a great protein option in this dish, but shrimp, white fish or even tofu would also work.
Bell peppers, green beans, carrots and onions are my favorite veggie combination for Thai fish curry, but add your favorites – or whatever your produce bin is hiding. Snow peas, bok choy, baby corn and even diced sweet potato would be lovely.
I use Chef Jet Tila’s curry cooking method here and it never fails me. Starting with the coconut cream as the fat in the pan, then cooking down the red curry paste before adding the veggies creates a richly flavored curry sauce to coat your fish fillets.
Here we go, team! Your better-than-takeout quick weeknight dinner is just 30 minutes away.
What you’ll need to make this delicious dish:
Red Thai Curry Paste: Thai curries are widely available in most grocery stores. I love the Mae Ploy brand curry paste which I’ve found in Asian markets around the world. Red curry paste includes red chilis, ginger, lemongrass and tumeric. It is deeply savory and a little spicy. Substitute green curry paste, if that’s your preference.
Full Fat Coconut Milk: I have not made this recipe using light coconut milk, as you really need that coconut cream layer across the top of the can to use as your fat for frying the curry paste and then the veggies. Resist the urge to shake up the can before opening! You’ll use both the thick coconut cream and the coconut water, but it’s best if they’re separated.
Vegetables: I use green beans (fresh or frozen, not canned), carrots, onion and bell pepper as my ideal combination. But choose your favorite mix and use about 3-4 cups in this curry. Bamboo shoots, snap peas, yellow squash and even a handful of frozen peas would all work together in this delicious Thai curry sauce.
Fish Sauce: it’s pungent and a little funky, but it adds serious authenticity to your Thai curry.
Fresh Lime Juice: Grab one lime and use 1/2 to squeeze into the pot of curry gravy, and cut the other half into wedges to serve with each bowl at the dinner table.
Brown Sugar: Just a bit adds the balancing sweetness to this spicy, savory Thai red curry fish.
Fresh Salmon – Rich salmon is the perfect canvas for these delicious Thai flavors. Substitute shrimp or your favorite firm type of white fish such as mahi mahi.
Fresh Herbs – Thai basil would be ideal, if you can find it! If not, regular basil will do just fine. And this curry dish is perfect with a bit of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime when serving.
Full measurements and directions included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for Thai Red Fish Curry:
To begin, open your can of coconut milk and remove 3 tablespoons of the thick coconut cream at the top of the can. Add to a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the cream is sizzling and thick. Next, add 3 tablespoons of red Thai curry paste to the pan and stir to combine the mixture well. Continue cooking the mixture until it is sputtering and thick, about 2 minutes.
Next, add the remaining coconut milk to the pan, along with the sliced onion and carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the veggies are softened.
Add salmon pieces, bell pepper, green beans, fish sauce and brown sugar. Stir to combine and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 5-8 minutes, until vegetables are crisp, but cooked and salmon is cooked to your desired temp.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Squeeze 1/2 lime into curry.
Serve salmon curry with jasmine rice and lime wedges. Top with fresh basil, cilantro and diced red chilis.
FAQ’s and Serving Suggestions for this Creamy Curry Fish Recipe:
Any firm fish will work. Salmon is ideal and steelhead trout is a good substitute. If you prefer white fish, mahi mahi, barramundi or ling cod are all firm enough to stand up to the curry sauce. Regular cod, hake, tilapia and haddock or flakier white fish and would require a gentle hand to ensure they don’t break apart in the curry. But the flavor would still be excellent!
Jasmine rice (or basmati) is my go-to foundation for fish curry. Cauliflower rice or brown rice and quinoa would add even more nutrients. The vegetables and fish and herb topping make it a one-pan meal, so no need to make a veggie side dish!
To store leftover fish curry, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, cook in a saucepan over medium-low heat until just heated through.