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Thai Red Curry Fish Recipe

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Thai red curry fish recipe, packed with the authentic Thai flavors we all crave, on your table in under 30 minutes. This creamy dish blends a red coconut curry sauce with tender fish, alongside the classic Thai ingredients we love. Serve with jasmine rice to soak up all that dreamy sauce.

Thai red curry fish with jasmine rice served in clay dishes.

After making this, try some of these similar recipes: Authentic Thai red curry recipe, gaeng daeng recipe, choo chee curry, and Thai roasted duck curry – all made with homemade red curry paste! Thai green curry pork is another crowd-favorite that’s easy to make at home.

What is Thai fish curry

Thai fish curry is a classic dish combining fish with a rich, spicy red coconut sauce, infused with traditional Thai herbs and spices. It balances sweet, sour, and savory flavors, making it a staple in Thai cuisine.

Thai red curry fish

Thai red fish curry is hands down one of the best curries you’ll ever try. The fish is so tender and swims in an aromatic coconut curry sauce full of fresh herbs and spices, and a hint of chili warmth.

Making this dish with my homemade Thai red curry paste makes it even better. A blend of galangal, shallots, shrimp paste, lemongrass, turmeric, and a bunch of other spices infuse the sauce with flavor and aroma. If you’re pressed for time, a store-bought jar of red curry paste works too. This recipe is great either way!

Thai woman presenting homemade Thai red curry fish.

The best thing about it? That red curry sauce. It’s a heavenly mix of spicy, sweet, and a touch salty, making it the perfect sauce to pour over pretty much anything. And when it comes to serving, pouring this lush sauce over fluffy steamed jasmine rice is the way to go.

Everything about this dish is to love – from the smells to that first taste and definitely how easy it is to whip up. It’s a classic for weeknight dinners when you want to bring a Thai restaurant experience right into your home.

Oh hey, if you’re feeding a family and prefer a milder curry, you should head over to one of these: Gang garee curry (Thai yellow curry), gaeng panang gai, and gaeng massaman neua.

Best fish for curry

It’s important to choose a fish suited for curry so it holds up well to the rich, spicy sauce. Ideal options include firm, white-fleshed fish or other types like:

  • Haddock
  • Rockfish
  • Grouper
  • Sea bass
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Tilapia
  • Sole
  • Cod
Thai red fish curry in a traditional clay bowl and a fork lifting tender fish.

I used pangasius fillet, which is cheap and readily available at most supermarkets. Remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Make sure to grab some extra fish and try these two of my favorite Thai fish recipes: Thai crispy fish and pla pao (grilled fish).

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for Thai red curry fish: Coconut milk, fish fillets, red curry paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves, and red chilies.
  • Thai red curry paste – For the best flavors, use my homemade curry paste recipe. Good store-bought alternatives are Mae Ploy and Maesri.
  • Fish – The fish gets cooked until soft and tender, I advise using fish fillets. This recipe can be made with any type of fish, I opted for pangasius fillet, and me and the hubby loved it. Cut the fillets into even-sized pieces to ensure evenly sized chunks for cooking.
  • Coconut milk – Full-fat coconut milk is key for a rich and creamy coconut curry sauce. The sauce forms the foundation of the entire dish, and it perfectly melds together with the other ingredients.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar adds a delightful sweetness to the sauce, with a subtle hint of caramel. The sweetness mellows out the heat from the chilies and red curry paste.
  • Fish sauce – Fish sauce adds umami contributes to the salty flavor, there’s no need to add extra salt. Fish sauce is made from fermented fish, and it’s a key ingredient in Thai cuisine for adding a savory and salty flavor.
  • Kaffir lime leaves – Kaffir lime leaves are perfect in Thai red curry. They add bright and fresh citrusy flavors. They’re usually sliced into thin strips or teared in half by removing the stem. You should be able to find these at Asian grocery stores, fresh or dried.
  • Chilies – Thai bird’s eye chilies bring a lot of heat and you’ll only need a few. Thai Jinda chilies are a bit milder and larger, they’ll add more chili flavor too. You can opt for milder chilies if your spice-level isn’t high.

This recipe focuses on the rich flavors of fish and red curry sauce, so I’ve skipped the vegetables. But if you’re keen on adding veggies, check out the customization options after the instructions for some healthy additions.

Cooking instructions

Fish fillets being fried in a wok.

Step 1: Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Cook the fish for 2–3 minutes on each side until done. For thicker cuts, allow more time. Once cooked, set aside on a serving dish.

Reduced coconut milk in a wok.

Step 2: Pour half the coconut milk into a different pan or pot and simmer over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5–10 minutes until the coconut oil starts to separate. Avoid bringing it to a full boil.

Coconut milk stir-fried with red curry paste in a wok.

Step 3: Stir in the red curry paste with the thickened coconut milk until well combined.

Red coconut curry sauce in a wok.

Step 4: Add the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and stir until the palm sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens to your liking.

Red curry sauce with herbs and spices in a wok.

Step 5: Toss in the chilies and kaffir lime leaf strips, cooking for an additional 20 seconds.

Pouring spicy red curry sauce over steamed fish in a traditional clay bowl.

Step 6: Drizzle the warm red coconut curry sauce over the fish fillets to serve. Enjoy!

Kitchen tools

  • Mortar and pestle or food processor if you’re making your red curry paste from scratch
  • Cutting board and a sharp knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Wooden spoon or ladle
  • Large wok or pot

Recipe customizations

Alternative rice: Jasmine rice is traditional, but feel free to serve your curry with brown rice, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.

Adjust the heat: Simple add more or less chilies to taste. Alternatively, you can use a mild type of chili pepper or remove the seeds. The spiciness can be altered by changing the amount of curry paste, but this will affect the taste of your final dish.

Fresh herbs: Feel free to add your favorite herbs like Thai basil or cilantro.

Curry paste: Swap the red paste for Thai green curry paste to create an entire new dish.

Vegetables: Add some vegetables like snow peas, bamboo shoots, green beans, baby corn, bell peppers, Thai eggplants, and yard long beans.

Proteins: This is a recipe for fish curry, but feel free to use other proteins like shrimp, chicken, pork, or tofu for a vegetarian option. Thai food is versatile, and so is this curry!

How to serve Thai red fish curry

Thai fish curry is best served with steamed jasmine rice, which perfectly complements the rich flavors of the curry. In Southern Thailand, a side of Thai roti is common with curries.

How to store and reheat

Let your leftover Thai red fish curry cool to room temperature before transferring it into an airtight container. You can keep the container in your fridge for up to 2 days. It’s great for meal prep or next-day lunch.

Freezing is not recommended, as the fish might become rubbery upon thawing.

Reheating: Reheat it on the stove over low-medium heat until warm.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use this recipe to make chicken curry?

Yes, simply swap out the fish for a protein of your choice and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Is this a spicy curry?

Thai red curry is typically quite spicy, but you can easily alter the heat by adjusting the amount of chilies and curry paste used.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, all ingredients are gluten-free. However, you should always check the labeling of your store-bought ingredients like fish sauce.

Authentic Thai curry recipes

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Thai Red Curry Fish Recipe

Thai red curry fish with jasmine rice served in clay dishes.
This Thai red curry fish is easy to make and perfect with steamed jasmine rice.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 18 ounces fish fillets see notes
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste see notes
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves sliced into thin strips, stems removed
  • 2 chilies sliced, add to taste
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Cook the fish for 2–3 minutes on each side until done. For thicker cuts, allow more time. Once cooked, set aside on a serving dish.
  • Pour half the coconut milk into a different pan or pot and simmer over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5–10 minutes until the coconut oil starts to separate. Avoid bringing it to a full boil.
  • Stir in the red curry paste with the thickened coconut milk until well combined.
  • Add the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and stir until the palm sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens to your liking.
  • Toss in the chilies and kaffir lime leaf strips, cooking for an additional 20 seconds.
  • Drizzle the warm red coconut curry sauce over the fish fillets to serve. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Fish: I used pangasius fillet, which is cheap and readily available at most supermarkets. You can opt for any firm, white fleshed fish like haddock, rockfish, grouper, tilapia, cod, and even salmon can be used.
  • Red curry paste: For the best flavors, use my homemade curry paste recipe. Good store-bought alternatives are Mae Ploy and Maesri.

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing taste and flavor with a very consistent texture. This is the best Thai Red Curry recipe anywhere. I made one adjustment, using shrimp as my protein.

5 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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