This Thai-inspired AIP/Paleo Coconut Curry Salmon is rich, warming and so flavorful. Salmon filets are pan-seared and served in a creamy yellow coconut curry sauce for a delicious gluten-free fish curry that’s nightshade-free.
If you’re looking for a simple paleo salmon recipe, this tasty curry packs a flavorful punch. This one-pan fish curry recipe is made with fresh salmon in a Thai-inspired yellow curry sauce that’s creamy and delicious and dairy-free.
What is Thai yellow curry?
Thai yellow curry is a mild and slightly sweet curry made with yellow curry paste and coconut milk. Yellow curry paste is made with less chilies than red or green Thai curry pastes, so it’s the least spicy. It traditionally includes ingredients like red or yellow chilies, cayenne, galangal and seed-based spices like coriander and cumin.
Curry without nightshades
The key to this AIP/paleo salmon curry without nightshades, seeds or curry powder is the homemade yellow curry paste.
This easy curry paste is made by first sautéing garlic, ginger, shallots and lemongrass to release their flavors and the natural lemongrass oils. Lime juice, lime zest, coconut sugar and a blend of herbs and spices are then pulsed with the aromatics into a smooth paste. The paste then slowly simmers and infuses with creamy coconut milk for a dairy-free sauce that’s bursting with flavor!
Authentic ingredients like ginger, turmeric powder, lemongrass, and coconut milk lend a distinct Thai flavor to this yellow curry. The slightly sweet, richly fragrant sauce perfectly complements the slight char of pan-fried salmon.
what you’ll need to make this paleo coconut curried salmon recipe
- 1 lb salmon – cut into filets. I used skin-on salmon.
- olive oil
Thai-inspired Yellow Curry Sauce
- olive oil
- shallots, garlic, ginger
- fresh lemongrass – don’t omit this key ingredient! To prep the lemongrass, remove the reedy outer layers and cut off the bulb, before thinly slicing. If using dried lemongrass, add it directly to the pan after the coconut milk is added and let it simmer in the sauce, rather than pulsing with the other paste ingredients.
- lime juice + lime zest
- basil – or Thai basil if you can access it.
- coconut sugar
- turmeric powder – gives yellow curries their signature golden hue.
- sea salt
- coconut milk – using canned full-fat coconut milk is essential to the sauce’s rich texture and its lightly sweet, coconut flavor. If following the AIP diet, ensure ingredients are compliant.
- lime wedges – to garnish, optional
how to make skillet salmon coconut curry
Step 1. Prep and cook salmon filets.
First, pat dry and season salmon filets with salt on both sides. Pan-sear salmon in olive oil over medium heat, until almost cooked through. Then, remove from pan and set aside.
Step 2. Sauté aromatics.
Next, sauté shallots, garlic, ginger and lemongrass in olive oil, for the curry paste.
Step 3. Prepare homemade curry paste.
Add all curry paste ingredients to a food processor and pulse til smooth. Reference photo of finished yellow curry paste for texture.
Step 4. Make yellow curry sauce.
Add curry paste to pan. Then slowly add coconut milk to make Thai yellow curry sauce.
Step 5. Return salmon to pan.
Bring the sauce to a low boil over medium low heat and return the filets to the pan.
Step 6. Garnish, optional.
Last, add lime wedges, chopped basil or chopped cilantro as optional garnish.
poached salmon coconut milk curry
Alternatively, you can poach the salmon directly in the coconut curry sauce.
- Begin with making the Thai yellow curry paste and follow steps 5-7 from the recipe card.
- Then, bring the sauce to a low simmer over low heat.
- Add salmon to pan and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
curry salmon meal prep tips
- Make this fish curry recipe even faster on weeknights by making the yellow curry paste ahead of time, like on a weekend during meal prep.
- Make a large batch of the curry paste or the complete curry sauce with coconut milk and store in a jar in the freezer. This way, you’ll always have some on hand to make quick AIP curries for lunch or dinner.
Paleo Curry Variations
As the mildest sauce, Thai yellow curry pairs especially well with fish and chicken.
- Try this Thai-influenced curry stew recipe with other types of fish or seafood like shrimp. Practically any type of firm white fish will work in this recipe, like cod, mahi mahi, halibut, rainbow trout, or haddock.
- Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts to make an AIP/paleo chicken curry. I recommend butterflying chicken breasts then cutting in half, to make cutlets for a yellow Thai curry chicken dish.
Sides to serve with Paleo Salmon Curry
This one-pan salmon curry is simple and fairly quick to make. Make this AIP fish curry a complete meal with some paleo sides:
- Vegetables – add mushrooms, broccoli florets, julienned carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, chopped bok choy or kale, whatever your preference! Add them to the pan after you’ve returned the salmon to the sauce. Just ensure they’re cut up small or thinly sliced so that they’ll cook quickly.
- Grain substitutes – like cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, vegetable noodles, or sweet potato glass noodles.
- Greens – like this sautéed kale, this arugula mango salad, or this vegetable salad.
Can I omit the coconut ingredients in this dish?
Coconut milk is essential to this coconut curry salmon recipe. If you’d like to try an AIP fish recipe without coconut, check out my paleo fish and chips.
Can I make this Salmon Curry with frozen fish?
Although fresh salmon is best for this recipe, you can try it with fully thawed fish filets. Let the filets defrost in paper towels to absorb all the water that will be released and pat dry before seasoning.
Can I use a blender to make the yellow curry paste?
If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the curry paste in a blender with the “Purée” function. Alternatively, you can make it with a mortar and pestle by crushing the sautéed aromatics, then whisk them together with the rest of the paste ingredients in a small bowl. Note, this variety won’t be as smooth.
How to store this dish?
Keep this dish stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat.
Can I freeze this dish?
I don’t recommend freezing this dish with the salmon as the texture of the fish will change. You could try making a large batch of the coconut curry sauce and freezing it.
You’ll love these other AIP/Paleo Fish recipes
- If you’re looking for a quick paleo salmon recipe, check out my cilantro-lime sauce with baked salmon.
- Baked Haddock in Sweet Potato Cream Sauce
- AIP Fish en Papillote
- Caribbean Fish and Chips with Tamarind Sauce
- Baked Fish with Fennel and Sweet Potatoes
More paleo main dishes you might enjoy
- AIP Lamb Curry with Cauliflower
- Moroccan-inspired Lamb Meatballs
- AIP Thai Basil Beef
- Chicken Meatballs in Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- Gluten-Free Chicken Piccata
- AIP/Paleo One-Pan Chicken and Orzo
If you loved this Thai-inspired Coconut Curry Salmon (AIP/Paleo, Nightshade-free) recipe I would appreciate it if you would give it a rating and review. Be sure to snap a picture of the finished product and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @healmedelicious and using the hashtag #healmedelicious.Print
Thai-inspired Salmon Coconut Curry (Paleo, AIP, Nightshade-free)
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 3–4 servings 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
This Thai-inspired Paleo salmon curry with coconut milk is creamy, warming and so flavorful. Salmon filets are pan-seared and served in a coconut-lime yellow curry sauce for a delicious AIP fish curry that’s nightshade-free.
- 1 lb piece salmon, sliced into 3–4 pieces
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- salt to season
Thai-inspired coconut curry sauce
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1-inch knob ginger, minced or grated
- 2-inch piece fresh lemongrass, sliced
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp lime zest (approx zest of 1 small lime)
- 2 TBSP cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish, optional)
- 2 TBSP basil, chopped (plus more for garnish, optional)
- 2 TBSP coconut sugar
- 1 TBSP turmeric powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups full fat coconut milk
- lime wedges (for garnish, optional)
- Gently pat dry salmon filets with a paper towel* and season with salt on both sides.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.**
- Place salmon pieces skin side down and pan sear for 5 minutes. Flip filets and cook another 2-3 minutes (the fish should be nearly done). Allow filets to cook undisturbed on each side.***
- Remove salmon from pan and set aside, removing skin if desired.
- To the same pan, add remaining 2 TBSP olive oil, shallots, garlic, ginger and lemongrass, and sauté 4-5 minutes, until shallots are translucent.
- Add sautéed shallots, garlic, ginger and lemongrass to a food processor with lime juice, water, lime zest, cilantro, basil, coconut sugar, turmeric powder and sea salt. Pulse until as smooth as possible.****
- Return paste to pot over medium heat and slowly add coconut milk until combined.
- Bring to a low boil and return salmon to the pan. Allow to simmer on low a few minutes.
- Garnish with additional cilantro, basil and lime wedges (optional).
- Adjust salt to taste.
*It’s important to pat dry both sides of the filets to prevent them from sticking to the pan.
**Alternatively, poach salmon in coconut curry sauce. Skip steps 2-4 and begin with making the curry paste in step 5. Follow until end of step 7. Then, bring sauce to a low simmer over low heat and add salmon filets to pan. Let filets simmer for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Continue with step 9.
***If fish pieces appear to be sticking, allow them to cook longer and release on their own.
****Refer to picture of yellow curry paste in the blog post for consistency.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Mains
- Method: Pan-seared
- Cuisine: Thai inspired
Keywords: aip, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo curry, aip curry, nightshade-free curry, coconut curry, salmon recipe, salmon curry, fish curry, Thai curry, Thai yellow curry, lemongrass, turmeric powder, coconut milk, skillet salmon, one-pan salmon, poached salmon, homemade curry paste, homemade coconut curry sauce
Seriously one of the BEST meals I’ve ever made. My husband loved it and it was so easy. Full of flavor! We had over white rice and added a little sambal for some spice, but just a tiny bit! I think I may try adding some sort of crunchy veggie next time. Thank you for this recipe!