Thai Coconut Curry Fish, Seafood, Chicken or Tofu with Rice

You know a recipe is great when you crave it and go back to it again and again – even switching out the protein with whatever you have on hand.

This coconut curry is one of the great ones!  It can be made in one pan and requires mostly staple ingredients – but don’t be turned off by the more exotic elements of this recipe… especially the lemongrass.  I know… lemongrass can be challenging to find sometimes.  When you do find the lovely aromatics stalks, buy a few and freeze them. In a pinch you can add the sesnt of ½ a lemon in place of the lemongrass.

This dish comes together in under 45 minutes and everyone will love it.  I’ve made this with fish,  shrimp, chicken and tofu – and each one is delicious.  You can also make a double batch of the curry sauce, use what you need and then freeze the rest.  

Serve this with rice (of course) or try it with quinoa, naan bread and a side of green veggies.

Thai Coconut Curry Fish, Seafood, Chicken or Tofu with Rice

Servings 4


  • 2 pounds halibut,cod (or another firm white fish), cut into 3-4 ounce serving pieces/1-2 pounds of chicken cut into 2 inch pieces/2 pounds of shrimp
  • 4-5 tbsp. olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, smash and chopped
  • A 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass (*see note at the bottom)
  • ½ tsp. dried chili flakes or 1 whole long red chili or ½ of a Thai bird chili, sliced in rounds, optional
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, ends removed, quartered
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½-1 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 bunch of Thai basil or regular basil, leaves only
  • 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

To Serve

  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped or more red chilli handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onion, sliced in rounds
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 2 cups jasmine, brown or mixed grain rice, cooked


  • Mince the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chili, and tomatoes in a food processor.
  • Add the oil to a heavy duty fry pan or cast iron pan over med high heat .  Add the onion-tomato mixture and sauté until fragrant and soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the curry powder, mix into the onion-tomato mixture, cook for another minute.
  • Add the coconut milk.  And the water to the empty can of coconut milk, swish it around the can and dump that water into the pan with the coconut milk, let it boil, add the lime juice and salt.
  • Let the sauce boil and reduce for about 6-7 minutes.  Taste the sauce, add more salt, chilis or lime to taste.  Add the basil and spinach.  Let the sauce thicken so that it coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes.
  • NOTE: If using chicken: In a separate fry pan, heat 1 tbs oil, sear chicken on all sides for about 1-2 minutes. Carry on with the next step.
  • If using Fish, Shrimp or Tofu: Add to the pan, let cook for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a serving dish (or serve right form the dish) and garnish with chopped jalapeno, cilantro, green onion.
  • Serve with rice.


*Cut the root end off the lemongrass and then cut the lemongrass where the white part meets the greener part (you only use the white part), discard the root end and the darker part.  Slice the piece of lemongrass in half in the length and remove the outside two layers of the lemon grass, this part is too tough, discard.  Then chop the white part very finely, alternatively, you can slice the lemongrass into julienned slivers and people will pick them out as the eat.  You can freeze any unused stalks of lemongrass, chopped or left whole.