Thursday, January 5, 2012

Red curry salmon with steamed rice and garlicky bok choy

I'm always looking for new things to do with salmon, because it's so wonderfully healthy (and delicious), and Dog knows I love a curry. This is an easy little weeknight recipe I came up with from a few different sources of inspiration, including this one (and all the comments) from an old Bon Appetit. The curry takes a different form from how I usually prepare it; instead a making big pot of curry and cooking other stuff in it, it's simmered down into a thick sauce and drizzled over the other stuff.

Bok choy is flourishing in my garden right now, along with spinach, lettuces, and about a million beets and carrots I can't wait to pull up. Are they ready? I don't know. It's so excitingly mysterious. Anyway, my bok choy is doing fabulously, and I hope you have some in your garden too.

It meets all my weeknight dinner criteria: quick, healthy, tasty, and interesting. Give it a try!

2 salmon fillets

1 lemongrass stalk, hard outer leaves removed, tender inner stalk minced as finely as you can
an equal amount of fresh ginger, also minced (something like a tablespoon each of lemongrass and ginger)
3 tsp red curry paste
1/2 a can of coconut milk (I generally use "light") (don't toss the other half of the can! Pour it in a Ziploc and stick it in the freezer)
juice of 1/2 a juicy lime
1 tsp fish sauce (don't chicken out when you smell it, it's very important)

1/2 cup jasmine rice

1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
several big handfuls of bok choy, leaves and stems rinsed and roughly chopped (I used all of the bok choy in the picture above, and while it was a big portion, we both cleaned our plates. It's mostly water, really)

Get a pot of water on to boil for your rice. When it's boiling, cook your rice according to the package directions. I like to make mine nice and fluffy by straining it into a colander just before it's cooked and letting it steam back in the pot for the last few minutes.

While that is happening, saute your lemongrass, ginger, and red curry paste in a small saucepan with a drizzle of vegetable oil. After about 5 minutes, add the coconut milk and stir to dissolve. Turn the heat to low, and just let it reduce gently, stirring every once in a while, while you do everything else. Don't worry about seasoning, the fish sauce will bring all the salt you need.

Wrap a baking sheet in foil (for easy clean-up) and flop your salmon fillets onto it. Rub with just a little vegetable oil to moisten and season both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the rice is done (or steaming) and your sauce has thickened and reduced by about half, pop the salmon under the broiler. Mine takes 6 minutes to cook exactly to our liking, but your broiler may be more or less powerful than mine. Simultaneously set a large saute pan over a medium high flame and add the sesame oil as well as a little vegetable oil (sesame oil is to potent, so you need to dilute it with a neutral oil). When hot, saute your garlic for a moment until aromatic, then add your bok choy along with a good pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use tongs to toss and toss and toss until everything quickly wilts down into a lovely green pile of happiness.

Serve the salmon atop a mound of rice and slather copiously with your red curry sauce, piling up the bok choy on the side. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves 2, takes under 40 minutes.


  1. Sounds delicious! I love the combination of red curry and lemongrass and coconut milk! Will definitely be trying this - perhaps with the addition of ginger sliced into matchsticks as well.

  2. Sounds good! I loooove ginger.

  3. This looks fantastic! Love the idea of using the curry as a sauce over salmon, sounds really delicious - I will have to try this out! :)

  4. Oh my gosh! Finally got around to trying this recipe and it is SO GOOD. My whole family was totally in love with it - really fantastic flavors and easy too! Thanks so much for sharing a delicious recipe.