Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Milk Street

India meets East Africa in 1-skillet curried salmon fillets

  • 0

For centuries, the channel of ocean running between Mozambique and Madagascar provided passage and port to ships during the height of the spice trade. The results were delicious, combining local seafood and coconut with rich spice blends for seafood curries.

We borrow from that tradition — inspired by a recipe in "In Bibi's Kitchen" by Hawa Hassan — for this simple one-skillet recipe from our book "Cook What You Have," which draws on pantry staples to assemble easy, weeknight meals.

Instead of mackerel, we use salmon fillets and pair them with a saucy mix of vegetables simmered in coconut milk. A small measure of curry powder, a stand-in for the Somali spice blend called xawaash, flavors the dish and gives the sauce a pale golden hue.

Don't let the sauce reach a simmer after returning the salmon to the skillet. Gentle heat — just enough to create steam — is all that's needed to cook the fillets so that they remain moist and tender. Serve with steamed rice.

Salmon in coconut-curry sauce

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 4 6-ounce center-cut salmon fillets
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice


Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the salmon flesh-side down, then immediately reduce to medium. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a wide, thin spatula, transfer the salmon browned-side up to a plate.

Return the skillet to medium-high, and add the scallion whites and the garlic. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, carrots, curry powder and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until the liquid released by the tomatoes has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, chiles and ¼ cup water, then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are softened, 6 to 9 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice, and return the salmon, skin-side down, to the pan. Cover, reduce to low, and cook until the thickest parts of the fillets reach 120 F or are nearly opaque when cut into, 3 to 5 minutes. Off heat, taste the sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens.

For more recipes, go to Christopher Kimball's Milk Street at

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Q: Do you have info on the potential revival of the TV show “Justified” and when and where it might be available for viewing?

Actor Nicholas Pryor ("Risky Business") is 88. Actor Alan Alda is 87. Actor Susan Howard ("Dallas") is 81. Actor Marthe Keller ("Marathon Man"…

Actor James Cromwell ("Murder in the First," "Babe") is 83. Drummer Nick Mason of Pink Floyd is 79. Singer Nedra Talley of The Ronettes is 77.…

When to claim Social Security is not a decision to be made based on emotion, such as worrying that you'd better get the money now "while you can." It is not about a bet against your longevity or the full funding of Social Security. Instead, it is a multidimensional calculation.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Badger Sports

Breaking News