Golden pan seared salmon in creamy coconut sauce with bell peppers, mushrooms and fresh spinach in a spicy coconut cream sauce! Best served with rice, quick and easy to prepare in 30 minutes and can easily be adjusted to suit a vegan diet.
This is what you'll need...
- Salmon fillets
- Brown mushrooms
- Bell pepper
- Garlic (fresh)
- Thai chili (fresh)
- Ginger (fresh)
- Coconut milk
- Sesame oil
- Spinach, fresh
- Starch (corn or potato)
Substitutions and Tips
Which fish to use
This recipe will work with a variety of fish or meat types. My personal preference is salmon or trout. However, cod or haddock will taste great as well. If you don't like fish at all, try fried chicken strips!
For seasonings like onion, garlic or ginger, I always use them as fresh ingredients. In my personal opinion the taste is very different, compared to the powdered form and I prefer it. If you are used to the powdered seasonings, carefully add small amounts until you reach the desired taste.
Make it Vegan
The coconut cream sauce fits perfectly into a vegan diet. The fish is fried separately and can easily be replaced by for example fried tofu. Alternatively, skip the fish or tofu alltogether and add more veggies to your sauce, such as broccoli, additional bell pepper, green beans or bok choy.
How to make it
Prepare the Salmon
Wash the salmon fillets with cold water and tap them dry with paper towel. If you bought a whole salmon side, cut it in four more or less even pieces. I prefer skinny and straight pieces. Therefore, I slice the salmon straight across the fillet. Now, salt the salmon fillets and set them aside so they can adjust to room temperature.
For the Creamy Coconut Sauce
Chop the vegetables: First cut the mushrooms in half, then slice them. Cut the cleaned bell pepper and onion into medium to small pieces. Then mince the garlic, as well as the ginger and finely chop the chili pepper. Keep all ingredients separately. Wash the spinach and cut the stems of the leafs.
Stir fry the mushrooms and onions: Heat some olive oil, or other frying oil in a pan on high heat. Once hot, give the mushrooms into the pan and sear them until they start to turn golden. Now add the onions and stir fry both until they are gold-brown all around.
Add bell pepper, Thai chili and garlic: When the onion and mushroom mix has a nice gold-brown colour, add the diced bell pepper, chopped Thai chili and minced garlic into the hot pan and fry for 2-3 minutes.
Now pour the coconut milk over the vegetable mix and stir the grated ginger into the sauce, which should now have a light brown colour. Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Season: Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes and season with salt, pepper, ground cardamom, sesame seed oil, juice from half a lime and mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine.
Thicken the sauce: Mix the starch and cold water and pour it into the hot sauce while stirring. The liquid should start to thicken. This step is absolutely optional and depends on whether you prefer a thicker sauce or not.
Lastly, add the washed spinach and simmer for another minute, while mixing the spinach into the sauce. Then remove the pan from the heat.
Fry the Salmon
Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan on medium heat. Once hot, place the salmon in the pan. Fry the skin side first if your salmon is not skinned. Gently press the fish down and sear until the meat turns golden.
Flip and sear the other side of the salmon fillets.
Remove the pan from the heat, reheat the sauce and place the salmon fillets on top.
Ideas for sides
As for sides, any type of rice goes very well. I usually choose brown or wild rice. In addition, any type of pasta, rice vermicelli (noodles) or potatoes would be very tasty options.
- Rice vermicelli
Pan Seared Salmon in Spicy Coconut Sauce
- 4 salmon fillets (more or less 200g / 7 oz a piece)
- 10 brown mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ thai chili, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 can coconut milk (400 ml)
- ½ lime
- 1 tablespoon Mirin
- 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon corn starch (alternatively potato starch)
- 3 tablespoon water
Prepare the Salmon
- Wash the salmon fillets and tap them dry with a kitchen paper towel. Set them aside so they can adjust to room temperature.
For the Coconut Sauce
- Heat olive oil in a pan on high heat. Once hot, start frying the mushrooms.
- When the mushrooms start to turn gold-brown, add the onions and stir fry for another few minutes.
- When the onion and mushroom mix has a nice gold-brown color, give the diced bell pepper, chopped Thai chili and minced garlic into the hot pan and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Now pour the coconut milk over the vegetable mix and add the grated ginger. Your sauce should turn into a light brown color. Reduce the temperature to low heat.
- Let the sauce simmer and season with salt, pepper, cardamom, sesame seed oil, the juice of half a lime and mirin.
- Unless you prefer a thinner sauce, mix the starch and cold water and pour it into the sauce while stirring. The liquid should start to thicken.
- Lastly, add the spinach and stir for another minute. Then remove the pan from the heat.
Sear the Salmon
- Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan on medium heat.
- Once hot, place the salmon in the pan on the skin side, unless your salmon is skinless. Gently press the fish down and sear until the fish turns golden.
- Flip and sear the other side of the salmon fillets.
- Remove the pan from the heat and reheat the sauce. Place the salmon fillets on the sauce and serve with rice.