Throw together this intensely easy and happily healthy Thai Coconut Curry with Pan Seared Salmon. A sweet, veggie packed coconut curry over coconut flavored brown rice and topped with a pan seared salmon filet. Hello flavor!
ME BEFORE THE RECIPE…
Well, it’s official. Winter break is over. The kids returned to school today and I cried and cried and CRIED!!!
BAHAHAHAHA!!! Are you SERIOUS?! Heck NO!
I did a happy dance all around the house, shimmying and shaking to all the beats of The Greatest Showman soundtrack until I couldn’t feel my feet anymore. Then I laid on the couch, took a mid-morning nap, ignored my no sugar New Year’s resolution by eating a king sized Toblerone, and finished off my ultra productive day watching repeat episodes of The Gilmore Girls.
And I lie again. If you know me in the slightest bit, you know right away this is a complete joke. Although, I may have done a few seconds of a happy dance before realizing that on my first free day without kids, I had signed up to volunteer in Braelyn’s classroom. WHAT?! A few weeks ago it seemed like a good idea. So yeah, I spent my first day of no kids inside a classroom of twenty five third graders.
Oh, and did I also mention I signed up to volunteer in Emry’s class tomorrow? What is wrong with me??? I guess my “winter break” will have to wait until Wednesday.
Today was jumping right into the fire of early mornings, back to school routines, extracurricular activities, and late night dinners. Mondays are kind of like our mad house days. You know that song, “Just Another Manic Monday”? That’s pretty much how I feel on Mondays.
Not only is it a shock after a weekend to get up and go to school, but my girls have gymnastics and dance back to back on Mondays. We don’t even roll in the door until close to 6:45 at night, at which time the mad rush to make dinner begins.
I’m pretty sure most of the normal population would designate these days as drive thru days, but I just can’t do it. You guys, I’m a self-proclaimed health nut and I just don’t feel bad about it even if it does cause frantic chaos in the kitchen some evenings. I’d rather a little extra chaos and later bedtimes than mounds of obnoxious Happy Meal toys laying around my house. But to each his own.
What I have learned to do on these busy days is meal prep. Now I usually don’t actually cook the meal ahead of time because it just doesn’t taste as fresh reheated, but I prep in the aspect of cutting up my veggies and prepping my protein. That way, once I arrive home, all I have to do is heat up a skillet and throw my ingredients in. I can usually have a meal cooked and plated within 30 minutes, so that’s not too shabby.
HERE COMES THE RECIPE…
If I really want to cut down on stress, there are a few meals I will prepare in advance and throw in the crockpot until we’re ready to eat at night. Some of the best things to do that with are pasta sauces, soups, chilis, and curries. You can prepare the main part of the meal ahead of time and then leave the easier parts for later, like boiling pasta, dicing toppings, toasting bread, or heating up rice.
One of my all time favorite prep ahead meals is this sweet and creamy Thai Coconut Curry with Pan Seared Salmon. You can make the curry beforehand and then fry up the salmon right before serving. Minute rice is a great quick and easy option to pair with this curry on days that you don’t have a lot of time to spare. Let’s be honest, that’s most days.
I love the combo of this sweet, tangy, and savory coconut curry with the fresh rich flavor and lush texture of the salmon. To me, salmon is like the butter of the sea. It’s high fat content, when cooked right, gives it this buttery smooth flavor that rivals any other fish.
So talking about curry, it’s taken me a long time to get it just right. Ben used to despise when I made curry because it usually ended up nearly inedible with an off-putting taste. I could never figure out what I was doing wrong. Turns out, using strictly curry powder, combined with a few other spices, to flavor your curry just doesn’t cut it. You NEED curry paste. Trust me.
I finally discovered Thai Kitchen brand’s red curry paste and I LOVE it!!! Two tablespoons of that stuff thrown into a pot of veggies will rock your world. I’ll never go back to dry curry powder again. No thank you.
And I also very intensely believe that EVERY curry should be made with coconut milk. Because why not???! Who can pass up that creamy, subtly sweet goodness? It doesn’t even really taste coconuty to me once it’s mixed with all the curry spices. It’s just yummy. Plain old yummy. Enough said.
I usually make this curry with a touch of brown sugar to cut the acidity of the lime juice, but since I’m not doing any refined sugar this month (crazy, I know), it tastes just as great with coconut sugar or even a drizzle of pure maple syrup to add a little sweetness. Or, if you aren’t a sweet curry fan, leave the sugar out completely. You’re a better person than me!
Well there you have it folks. Your second quick and healthy recipe of 2018. We’re on a roll here! We’ll be on the cover of the latest and greatest fitness magazine in no time. Whoop whoop!
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY…
- Cranberry Curry Chicken Salad
- Vegetarian Coconut Curry Kale Soup
- Broccoli and Thai Basil Coconut Curry
- Roasted Red Pepper Coconut Curry
- Gluten Free Chickpea Coconut Curry
- For the curry:
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups diced golden potatoes, skin on
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand)
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar (for no refined sugar version)
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- For the salmon: (omit to keep vegetarian)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 4 to 6 salmon filets, about 4 oz. each
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- For curry bowls:
- 3 cups cooked brown rice (cook in salted coconut water for enhanced flavor)
- toasted coconut flakes
- fresh cilantro leaves
- avocado slices
- sriracha sauce
- lime wedges
- Prepare all veggies by chopping, dicing, and mincing. Set out frozen peas on paper towel to thaw. Set aside for later use.
- Pat salmon filets dry with paper towels and set on clean paper towels until ready to fry.*
- In a cast iron pot or soup pan, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat. Once pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles, add potatoes and onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until onion is browning, stirring occasionally to avoid burning or sticking to pan. Add bell peppers. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir to coat and cook for 5 mins more, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 2 mins more. Add curry paste and ginger and stir to coat. Add brown sugar, lime juice, and coconut milk and stir to combine.
- Increase heat to boiling. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 mins. Remove lid and increase heat to a low boil. Cook until desired thickness is achieved and potatoes are tender. Stir in peas and cilantro. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Once you remove the lid from the curry, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Season salmon filets on both sides with salt, pepper, ground ginger, and smoked paprika. Gently rub on flesh of salmon.
- Once pan is hot enough that drop of water sizzles, add filets to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side depending on thickness.**
- To assemble bowls, scoop a serving of brown rice in each bowl, top with curry, then top each with a salmon filet. Garnish salmon filets with avocado, fresh cilantro leaves, toasted coconut, and sriracha sauce. Serve with extra lime wedges.
**Do not overcook or salmon will be dry. It should be flaky but still a slight glossy pink in the center.