I love Thai curries, but my homemade attempts always seem to fall short. The flavor is never really there the way it is when I’ve had real legit Thai curry – whether in Thailand or from a great restaurant.
But then I learned why.
We’ve (um, I’ve) been making it wrong this whole time.
I’ve been roasting the store-bought curry paste on the stove, then added garlic, flavors etc, then added coconut milk at the end. This produces a creamy, smooth curry.
Looks beautiful, tastes okay.
In reality, we are supposed to be “cracking” our coconut cream.
This means letting coconut cream fry on the stove, with the curry paste so the water evaporates and the flavor concentrates. The oil separates from the coconut fat and produces a curdled looking result.
This Red Curry Salmon produces less sauce but wow that sauce counts for a lot.
It’s also important to note that buying store-bought curry paste here IS TOTALLY LEGIT.
In fact, if you do not have all the ingredients to make curry paste yourself, it’s advised that you should, in fact, buy store-bought curry paste. Leaving out an ingredient in your paste can make or break your curry.
So I took this advice and bought a Thai brand red curry (Maesri). You likely won’t find this at a regular grocery store, but promise it’s worth a few extra dollars if you can order it. Over here, I share a list of Thai brands to look for.
Same with Kaffir lime leaves. I found these at whole foods and I know it’s annoying to spend $4 on herbs but sometimes we gotta live a little.
And this Red Curry Salmon with Roasted Kale makes you wanna live a little.
I’m elated with the flavors that were produced in this Red Curry Salmon because I feel like I cracked the code on how to make real deal Thai curry. With the addition of fish sauce and sugar, you’ve got an authentic tasting Thai dish.
What will we serve it with? Kale.
Texturally, roasting kale is my favorite way to cook it.
You’ve got a slight crunch from the oven heat, but soft center because we’re not actually making chips here. Finding the right oven temp is the key to making half crunchy oven baked kale.
And this dish needs a crunchy element to it. Crunchy oven baked kale it is.
Add a little white rice to help soak up your curry and you’ve got a complete meal. This also takes 20 minutes to make and I need more of this mindset in my life. An impressive meal in the span of a Friend’s episode? No brainer.
I’ll be making this one again and again.
Recipe and technique pulled from this amazing book: Simple Thai Food.
Red Curry Salmon with Roasted Kale
(Start making 20 minutes before you want Red Curry Salmon with Roasted Kale)
*Optional but highly recommended
Turn your oven to 350F. Tear your kale into bite-size chunks, coat in 1 Tbsp coconut oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Put in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning once halfway.
Add 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil, coconut cream, and red curry paste to a large pan or wok on medium-high heat. You want this hot enough so the mixture starts to bubble. After about 2 minutes, you’ll notice the coconut cream start to “crack” as the fat and oil will separate.
At this point, add your fish sauce, water, coconut milk, and brown sugar. Mix well and add the salmon fillets, skin side up. Cover and let cook for 2 minutes.
Remove kale from the oven.
Remove cover, flip the salmon, add the sliced Thai chiles. Cover, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for a minute. Sprinkle on Kaffir lime leaves and serve with roasted kale and rice.