Choo Chee Salmon Curry
This Choo Chee Salmon Curry is quick and easy to make in 30 minutes, and full of spicy-sweet flavors and rich creamy notes! Salmon fillets are first pan-fried until golden brown, then simmered in a fragrant and thick Thai red curry sauce.
Raise your hand if you love salmon? Raise your hand if you love flavor-packed Thai curries?! 🙋♀️ 🙋♀️
If your hands are up like mine, then you are going to LOVE this super easy, low-maintenance, and uber tasty Choo Chee Salmon Curry!
What is Choo Chee Curry?
Choo chee (also spelled chu chee) curry is a thick red Thai curry that can be made with any kind of seafood. Various types of fish, shrimp, squid, scallops, etc. are often used to make this quick and easy curry dish. The name ‘choo chee’ is thought to have come from the sound that the fish and curry paste make when cooking them in a pan with hot oil.
The main difference between choo chee pla (choo chee fish) and Thai red curries is that the curry tends to more of a thick sauce and a bit sweeter in choo chee curry. Also, while you can purchase choo chee curry paste, many people use red curry paste for choo chee pla and adjust the flavor by adding a few basic seasonings.
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s quick and easy to make on any given weeknight. 30 minute recipe for the win!
- It’s very versatile. You can customize this curry dish with your favorite type of fish. Cod, mackerel, trout, snapper, or sea bass all taste great!
- Store-bought Thai red curry paste is used to save time. It is slightly doctored with a couple of seasonings to give you the ultimate choo chee salmon curry dish.
- While not traditionally made with veggies, the addition of Chinese broccoli and baby corn in this version cuts through the richness of the sauce and pairs well with the salmon.
- Salmon Fillets: I use boneless and skin-on salmon fillets. Even if you’re not much of a skin person, I recommend leaving the skin on during cooking so that the salmon can hold its shape in the sauce. Then after cooking, and if you like, peel off the skin before serving (or people can peel it off in their own helping too).
- Asian Red Shallots: Substitute with red onion if you can’t find these.
- Chilies: I use both Bird’s Eye red chilies and fiery Thai ‘Prik Kee Nu’ green chilies for heat. But any other small hot chilies in your area will work just fine. Use as many or as few as you like depending on your heat level preference.
- Large Red Chilies: These are mild in flavor and more for color and decor than heat. You can substitute with finely sliced red bell pepper if unavailable.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves: These fragrant leaves add a lovely citrusy aroma to Thai dishes. You can find them in Thai grocery stores. Be sure to finely chop them into thin strips so that they are easier to eat and don’t get stuck in your teeth!
- Veggies: I use Chinese broccoli and baby corn to balance out the salty and sweet flavors in the rich sauce. But you can swap the Chinese broccoli for baby spinach, baby kale, Toscano kale, spinach, or any other leafy green.
- Oil: I use canola oil, but any other neutral flavored oil (i.e.: rice bran oil or vegetable oil) is fine.
- Thai Red Curry Paste: I use Mae Ploy Thai Red Curry Paste because the flavor is more authentic. I should also add that their curry pastes are hotter than some other brands (i.e.: Thai Kitchen, De Siam). The other brand I can vouch for is Maesri. You can find Thai red curry paste in some large supermarkets, Asian or Thai specialty ingredients store, or online.
- Coconut Milk: Use full fat to get the best thick red curry sauce. Light coconut milk won’t work as well. You’re welcome to use coconut cream instead. It’ll give you a lovely and more creamy and rich sauce.
- Coconut Sugar: This comes in the form of hard discs and have to be shaved with a knife so that the sugar can melt easily. Feel free to substitute with crystalized coconut sugar or light brown sugar if you can’t find it.
- Thai Chili Powder: This is a combination of chili powder, seeds, and flakes. Feel free to omit it if less heat is desired. You can substitute with crushed red pepper chili flakes if unavailable.
Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.
How to Make Choo Chee Salmon Curry
- Cook the salmon: Season the salmon fillets with kosher salt to taste. Then heat up some canola in a large nonstick skillet, and place the fillets in the pan (skin side down). Pan-fry the salmon fillets for a few minutes, until golden brown on all sides. Then transfer the fillets to a clean plate.
- Sauté garlic, shallots, and chilies: Heat the remaining oil in a large wok or large deep sauté pan. Then sauté the shallots and garlic until fragrant. Add and sauté the Bird’s Eye red chilies, prik kee nu green chilies, and most of the thinly sliced large red chilies (reserve a few slices for garnish) for another minute.
- Add the coconut sugar and curry paste: Stir until the sugar dissolves, then add the Thai red curry paste and sauté for 30-40 seconds.
- Stir in the coconut milk, water, and seasonings: Mix until the curry paste has fully broken down. Then season with fish sauce and Thai chili powder.
- Add veggies and kaffir lime leaves: Add the baby corn, Chinese broccoli, and most of the finely sliced kaffir lime leaves (set aside a few slices for garnish). Stir for a minute, until the leaves of the Chinese broccoli start to wilt.
- Add the salmon: Spoon the sauce over the fillets and simmer for a minute or so, until the fish has heated through and the sauce thickens.
- Serve: Transfer the Choo Chee Salmon Curry to a serving bowl/dish. Garnish with the reserved sliced red chilies and kaffir lime leaves and serve immediately with warm steamed rice!
Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Thai red curry paste: If this is your first time cooking with Thai red curry paste, I recommend adding 2-3 tablespoons first of whichever brand you’re using. Then taste the sauce before adding the veggies. Stir in more curry paste if you feel additional spice and flavor is needed.
- How to cut Chinese broccoli for even cooking: Shave off the outer tough skin part of the stem with a knife, then thinly slice the stem at an angle. The leaves can be cut into rough chunks. This way both can be added to the wok simultaneously and the stem parts won’t require extra time to soften.
- Easiest way to finely slice kaffir lime leaves quickly: Remove the stem in the center of each leaf by simply grabbing the top part and pulling it backwards. Then roll all of the leaves into a small bunch and finely slice with your knife.
More Thai Curries and Soups
- Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
- Easy Thai Green Chicken Curry
- Tom Kha Gai (Coconut Milk Chicken Soup)
- Khao Soi Gai (Northern Thai Coconut Curry Noodles Soup with Chicken)
- Or feel free to browse the entire Thai recipes and Dinner recipes collections.
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Choo Chee Salmon Curry
A quick and easy 30 minute curry that’s full of spicy-sweet flavors and rich creamy notes! Salmon fillets are first pan-fried until golden brown, then simmered in a flavor-packed thick Thai red curry sauce.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Thai
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 4 Salmon Fillets, boneless, skin-on (about 120 grams/4–5 oz. per fillet)
- ¼–½ TSP Kosher Salt, to taste
- 3.5 TBLS Canola Oil (or use any other neutral flavored oil)
- 6 Garlic cloves – smashed, then roughly chopped
- 4 Asian Red Shallots – peeled, halved and thinly sliced (substitute with ½ of a small red onion if unavailable.)
- 2–14 Red Chilies (Bird’s Eye preferred, but any small hot red chilies will work), to taste – chopped
- 2–6 Prik Kee Nu Green Chilies (optional), to taste – chopped
- 2–4 TBLS Thai Red Curry Paste (I use Mae Ploy’s)
- 1–2 Large Red Chilies – deseeded and finely sliced into thin strips
- ¾ disc (about 37.5 grams) Coconut Sugar, to taste – shaved with a knife (substitute with 1–2 TBLS crystalized coconut sugar or light brown sugar if unavailable)
- 330ml (2 x 5.5 ounce small cans) Coconut Milk (use full fat for best results, or use coconut cream)
- ½ cup Water
- 1.5 TBLS Fish Sauce
- ¼ TSP Thai Chili Powder (optional) – (substitute with crushed red pepper chili flakes if unavailable)
- 5–6 pieces (150–185 grams) Chinese Broccoli – stems thinly sliced, leafy green parts cut into rough chunks
- 4 pieces Baby Corn – sliced in half lengthwise, then again widthwise
- 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves – destemmed and finely sliced
- Prepare fresh ingredients: Chop/slice the garlic, shallots, Bird’s Eye red chilies, prik kee nu green chilies (if using), large red chilies, baby corn, Chinese broccoli, and kaffir lime leaves as indicated in the ingredients section. Reserve a few slices of the large red chili and kaffir lime leaves for garnish. Shave the coconut sugar with a knife, and set everything aside.
- Prep the fish: Remove the salmon fillets from the packaging they came in and gently pat them dry with paper towels. Place them on a large plate and season with the kosher salt.
For the Choo Chee Salmon Curry:
- Cook the salmon: Heat 1.5 tablespoons canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, place the salmon fillets skin side down in the pan and cook for 4-6 minutes, turning as needed until the fillets are golden brown on each side. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
- Sauté garlic, shallots, and chilies: Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large wok or large deep sauté pan. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic. Sauté for a minute until fragrant, then add the Bird’s Eye red chilies, prik kee nu green chilies, and most of the thinly sliced large red chilies (reserve a few slices for garnish). Sauté for another minute.
- Add the coconut sugar and curry paste: Stir in the coconut sugar until dissolved. Then add the Thai red curry paste and sauté for 30-40 seconds.
- Add coconut milk, water, and seasonings: Pour in the coconut milk and water. Stir until the curry paste has fully broken down. Season with fish sauce and Thai chili powder, and stir well to combine. Taste and stir in more curry paste (see note), sugar, or fish sauce if needed.
- Add veggies and kaffir lime leaves: Add the baby corn, Chinese broccoli, and most of the kaffir lime leaves (set aside a few slices for garnish). Stir for a minute, until the leaves of the Chinese broccoli start to wilt.
- Add the salmon: Place the salmon fillets in the wok and spoon the sauce over them. Simmer for a minute or so, until the fish has heated through and the sauce thickens, then switch off the heat.
- To Serve: Transfer to a serving bowl/dish and garnish with the reserved sliced red chilies and kaffir lime leaves. Serve with warm steamed rice.
Ingredient Notes, Cook’s Tips, and FAQs
- Thai Red Curry Paste: I recommend using Mae Ploy Thai red curry paste or Maesri Thai red curry paste for the most authentic flavor. Keep in mind different brands will have varying levels of spice, so I recommend adding 2-3 tablespoons first, then taste the sauce after seasoning it in step 4. Stir in more curry paste if you feel more spice or flavor is needed before adding the veggies in step 5.
- Thai ingredients: Asian red shallots, baby corn, and kaffir lime leaves can be found at Thai specialty grocery stores and some Asian supermarkets depending on where you’re located. Thai red curry paste and fish sauce can be found in the Asian aisle of most large supermarkets, at Asian supermarkets and Thai speciality ingredients stores. Or they can be purchased online.
- Salmon: I recommend leaving the skin on during cooking so that the salmon can hold its shape in the sauce. If you’re not a fan of eating fish skin, peel off the skin with a spoon before serving (or people can peel it off in their own helping too).
- Other fish/seafood options: Cod, mackerel, trout, snapper, or sea bass are all great fish options. You can also make this curry with squid, shrimp, or prawns. But skip frying them first and add them to the curry sauce just before adding the veggies in step 5.
- Can I make this gluten-free or dairy-free? The ingredients in this recipe are all gluten-free and dairy-free. But double check the ingredients list on the Thai red curry paste and fish sauce you’re using to ensure they are GF certified.
- Can I make this ahead? Yes! This dish keeps well in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in a wok or large pan on the stovetop, or for 2-3 minutes in the microwave until hot throughout.
- Can I make this vegetarian/vegan? Use tofu instead of the salmon, a vegetarian/vegan Thai red curry paste (many brands have shrimp paste), and a vegan fish sauce (or soy sauce). You can stir in some crispy pan-fried tofu cubes (or baked tofu cubes) into the sauce before adding the veggies in step 5.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 551
- Sugar: 18.6g
- Sodium: 1620.6mg
- Fat: 34g
- Saturated Fat: 15.3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 14.7g
- Trans Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 21.8g
- Fiber: 5.1g
- Protein: 32g
- Cholesterol: 61.2mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.
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