Thai choo chee curry with salmon is one of the creamiest curries using coconut cream as a base for the rich and tasty sauce. It’s also a simple recipe with minimal ingredients focused on the curry sauce and light protein. It’s perfect for those loving a more mild but savory Thai curry.
Do you want to elevate your Choo Chee curry to a new level of freshness and taste? Make your own authentic homemade choo chee curry paste on this blog post. While doing that, try making authentic homemade Thai red curry paste and freeze the paste for use in the winter months!
Want more Thai curries? Try these popular recipes; Thai vegetable red curry with vermicelli noodles, authentic homemade Thai red curry paste, Thai red curry with chicken and kabocha squash, Authentic Thai red curry with chicken, and Thai yellow curry.
What is Choo Chee Curry?
Choo Chee, Kaeng Choo Chee, or Chu chee curry got its name from the hissing sound of the curry paste cooked in high heat with coconut cream. Choo Chee Pla is the fish used in the curry.
This curry is typically made with fish or seafood as it pairs well with the more rich and creamy sauce. It's quickly becoming one of my family's favorite dishes this winter!
Choo Chee curry is not as well known in Thai cuisine as other Thai curries. But the choo chee curry is from the same family as the Thai red curries.
The main difference is using more coconut cream and toasted coconut flakes in the Choo Chee curry, making it one of the creamiest Thai dishes! That sounds like good news for all coconut lovers out there!
Recently I wanted to try Choo Chee Pla from a Thai restaurant. I expected plenty of curry sauce made with thick, rich coconut cream. Instead, I received a run-down version of Thai red curries with a scant amount of creamy coconut sauce. It was not what I expected, so I decided to share my recipe and make it extra savory and saucy, starting with a good authentic homemade choo chee curry paste on this blog post!
Why you'll love Choo Chee salmon
- Choo chee salmon curry is one of the creamiest and most tasty Thai curries.
- Ingredients are minimal, making this recipe extra fast to put together.
- You can use any seafood, fish, scallop, shrimp, tofu, or tempeh, or make it meatless by adding extra vegetables!
- It’s a milder curry because of the creaminess of the coconut milk, and the cream helps buffer the spiciness. But adjust with more curry paste to your heat level preference!
- It’s adaptable! You can add vegetables and light protein or keep it as light as you’d like. Such a versatile dish!
- The sauce can be made beforehand and used as a creamy dressing to drizzle over other cooked fish or seafood.
Choo Chee curry salmon ingredients
- Salmon. Any fish that is thick and meaty works great for this recipe. Choose any seafood you choose, like shrimp, scallops, or lobster. These protein options don't take long to cook and are fantastic for Choo Chee curry.
- Curry paste. Make your own or use store-bought Choo Chee paste. If choo chee paste is not available, use ½ the amount of your choice of Thai red curry paste.
- Coconut cream. Coconut cream is what makes the sauce rich and creamy. If unable to get coconut cream, use the creamiest part of the milk from a can of coconut milk and use the rest to add on as the sauce thickens.
- Coconut milk. Use up to a cup of coconut milk if your choo chee sauce gets too thick too quickly. Light coconut milk is not recommended for this recipe.
- Sugar. You can season the creamy coconut sauce using palm, white, brown, or coconut sugar. Traditionally, palm sugar is used for most Thai dishes, but any sweetener will work. I used brown sugar for this recipe.
- Fish sauce. Soy sauce can work as a substitute, or a little salt will work, too, for the salty taste.
- Kaffir lime leaves. Use fresh kaffir lime leaves if possible. Check the freezer section of your local Asian market for frozen leaves. If unable to find kaffir lime leaves, add a generous teaspoon of lime zest for flavoring.
- Red chili. The large red chilies are used mainly for adding extra heat and garnish with a pretty red color. But you can add more heat by adding chopped-up chili pepper or a few sprinkles of ground white peppercorns will give it a little extra heat.
- Thai sweet basil. Italian basil works great too. The basil is used mainly as a gorgeous garnish for the dish.
How To Make Choo Chee Curry with Salmon
Step 1. Add the curry paste and coconut cream to a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook until coconut cream thickens and bubbles form or when the coconut oil separates.
Step 2. Add fish sauce, sugar, and chopped kaffir lime leaves to season the creamy sauce.
Step 3. Add ½ cup of coconut milk and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Adjust the seasoning if needed before adding the salmon.
Step 4. Carefully add the salmon fillets, skin side down. Use a large spoon to scoop up the sauce to pour over the top of the fish fillets gently. Turn the down to medium heat.
Step 5. After 3-4 minutes, use a tong to turn the salmon over carefully and spread the sauce evenly over the meat. (If using vegetables, cut them small, and add them in this step. Cook for 2-3 minutes with the sauce until lightly tender.)
Step 6. Turn the salmon over one last time. Turn the heat off, add red peppers and Thai basil, and garnish with more sliced kaffir lime leaves and toasted coconut flakes. Place on a serving plate or serve with plain white rice. Scoop the sauce evenly over the meat and some on the rice. Enjoy!
Helpful kitchen notes and tips
- Vegetable options to add to the curry are sweet bell peppers, green beans, snow pea pods, carrots, jalapeños peppers, zucchini, broccolini, and carrots. Be sure to chop the vegetables into small pieces (¼ inch).
- If you don’t have Choo Chee curry paste, use red store-bought curry paste. Cut down the amount of the red paste by half. The main difference between red curry paste and choo chee paste is the use of coconut flakes in the Choo Chee.
- Salt content on curry paste varies from brand to brand. Use a small amount to stay on the less spicy side. You can always add more before adding the salmon fillet.
- The same is true of fish sauce. Some brands are saltier than others. Use only a tiny bit, then adjust more later. Squid brand is
- If you want your choo chee sauce to look like a brighter red curry sauce, add more red curry paste but adjust the final flavors with more sugar or a touch of lime juice to get the balanced, delicious taste you are happy with. (:
- If you can't find Maesri brand Choo Chee curry paste. Use Aroy-D red curry paste as a substitute. Use only ½ amount of the red curry paste.
- Make your own Homemade Choo Chee curry paste. This is a delicious and fresh option. It's worth taking the time to make it. Very easy too!
- Use scallops, firm white fish, or crab meat for different variations of this recipe.
- Use chicken breast, pork loin, or tender cuts of beef for thinly sliced pork belly for a heavier protein option.
- Make it vegetarian (no fish or seafood) using only vegetables. Broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, baby corn, and sweet peas are great options.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Choo chee pea, or fish curry, is savory, sweet, and creamy. It’s lightly salty from the fish sauce used for seasoning. The kaffir lime leaves add a citrusy aroma that elevates the curry flavors.
Choo Chee pla, or fish curry, is savory, sweet, and creamy. It’s lightly salty from the fish sauce used for seasoning. The kaffir lime leaves add a citrusy aroma that elevates the curry flavors.
Thai choo chee salmon curry is best served with warm jasmine rice. Brown, wild, or basmati rice works fine too.
Choo Chee curry is traditionally best with a lighter protein like fish, shrimp, scallops, lobster, tofu, or tempeh. Once the creamy choo chee curry sauce thickens, a protein that requires less cooking time is best because if the sauce continues to cook too long, it can get too dry or even burnt.
Absolutely. I have a few vegetarians friends and family with whom I serve this sauce. Just use your favorite vegetables instead of meat.
Choo HCee curry tends not to get too spicy because it’s sweet and creamy from coconut milk. You can adjust the spice level by how much curry paste is used.
To thickens your choo chee curry sauce, allow the coconut milk to cook until bubbles form. Leave the saucepan to uncover and turn up the heat slightly to help reduce the liquid faster.
More Thai Recipes You’ll Love!
- catfish stir-fried with red curry paste
- Thai swimming rama with red curry peanut sauce
- authentic homemade choo chee curry paste
- authentic homemade Thai red curry paste
- Thai red curry with chicken and kabocha squash
- Thai red curry with chicken and pineapple
- Prik Khing curry paste
- Easy red curry green beans with shrimp
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