Easy Massaman Salmon or Steelhead Curry

Easy Massaman Salmon or Steelhead Curry

Massaman curries are mild, yet bursting with Thai flavors, and this dish is no exception. It’s a tantalizingly  delicious way to prepare a fillet of salmon or steelhead trout. And you’ll have enough delicious sauce to serve with rice. The sauce goes together so quickly that the dish deserves to be called easy Massaman salmon or steelhead curry. 

delicious easy Massaman Thai salmon or steelhead curry on white platter

If you have never tried Massaman curry before, you are in for a treat. I wrote more about it in my post Massaman curry-stuffed sweet potatoes, and won’t go on at length here. It’s typically used for beef and potato curries, but is outstanding with fish.

But suffice to say that it is a mellow golden curry that you can make at home. Mae Ploy is the brand I have seen for sale most often. The Maesri brand offers a vegan paste as I noted in my recipe for stuffed sweet potatoes.

fillet of salmon with skin being removed for easy massaman thai salmon curry

Salmon or Steelhead

I have been a fan of steelhead trout for nearly a year now, and routinely buy it instead of salmon for recipes like this. I had been buying wild salmon before that but learned that salmon is not considered sustainable according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainability list. Farmed salmon is too toxic and MUCH less nutritious than wild, so that is out.

Enter farmed steelhead trout, which is sustainable and does not have the PCB’s in farmed salmon. It’s in the same family as salmon so has many of the same nutritional benefits. It’s tender and delicious and adaptable to the same cooking methods as you’d use with salmon.

Steelhead fillets are sold with the skin on. To remove the skin, sear the fillet skin-side down in a hot pan for about 3 minutes. Then you can slide a thin spatula between the skin and the flesh and remove it.

sauce in Cuisinart pan for easy massaman thai salmon curry

The sauce gets its creaminess from coconut milk, spiciness from the curry paste and bursts of flavor from lime and herbs.

If you can’t locate Massaman curry and want to make this dish soon, red curry paste would be the closest in flavor.

If you have a chance to try this recipe, please leave a comment to let me know how it went!


Other delicious recipes for steelhead on A Meal In Mind

Almond-Crusted Steelhead or Salmon Tacos

Miso-Lemon Baked Steelhead Trout

Veracruz Style Steelhead or Salmon

Almond Flour Crusted Salmon

Shop easy Massaman salmon or steelhead curry

pan spatula coconut oil fish sauce

Links to products for purchase are affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission on the sale at no additional cost to you. This helps me with the costs of blogging, and I thank you!

easy massaman thai salmon curry on white platter

Easy Massaman Salmon or Steelhead Curry

  • Author: Beth of A Meal In Mind
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Fish main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai


Massaman curries are mild yet bursting with Thai flavors, and this dish is no exception. It’s a tantalizingly  delicious way to prepare a fillet of salmon or steelhead trout.



  • 1 pound boneless steelhead or wild salmon
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Massaman curry paste for a mild flavor, up to 6 tablespoons for a medium-to-spicy level
  • ¼ tsp pink sea (or kosher) salt
  • 13.5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 12 tablespoons lime juice (1/2 medium lime)
  • 4 sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons each cilantro, basil, coarsely chopped, for garnish
  • lime wedges


  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan (large enough to fit the fish fillet) over medium heat. 
  2. Place the fish skin-side down into the heated oil and cook for 3 minutes. Carefully slide a spatula between the skin and the fish. Lift the fish out of the pan onto a clean plate. Remove the skin from the pan and the fish and discard, keeping as much fish oil and olive oil in the pan as possible. 
  3. Return the heat to medium if the pan has cooled. Add the curry paste and sea salt. Stir, continuously, for 45 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add the coconut milk and whisk until completely mixed. 
  5. Bring to a boil and immediately add the fish, former skin side up.
  6. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on thickness), spooning sauce over the fish periodically. If your fish will hold together well enough, gently slide your spatula underneath and turn it skin side down. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes more until desired doneness.
  7. Once fish is cooked to your preference, remove it from pan to your desired serving platter.
  8. Return sauce to medium heat and reduce for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently until it reduces and thickens.
  9. Remove the sauce from heat, stir in fish sauce and lime juice.
  10. Serve salmon or steelhead with Massaman curry sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with sliced green onions, cilantro and basil and lime wedges on the side.


See recipe for Massaman Curry-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes to go with the fish.

Keywords: salmon, steelhead trout, fish dinner, Thai fish meal, gluten-free, dairy-free, coconut milk, Massaman curry, Thai curry



4 part pinterest collage of massaman salmon thai curry

pinterest collage 2 of easy massaman salmon thai curry

pinterest collage 3 for easy massaman salmon thai curry



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