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Thai Coconut Curry Halibut with Fresh Sauteed Spinach


I am always looking for new ways to prepare fish, since my entire childhood I thought that I hated it. Once I learned more about how to buy fresh fish, or to read the labels on frozen fish (which country it comes from, and if it's farmed or wild caught...the latter being my preference) I realized that not all fish has to taste "fishy". Thai food is one of my favorite foods, and I love many of the ingredients like lime, lemongrass and coconut milk. This recipe was perfect as a quick weeknight dinner-- and it was delicious. This recipe is adapted from the food blog "Simply Scratch". I didn't use the Barramundi fish I found at Trader Joe's, because it's from Vietnam and I'm not confident that the processing of the fish is all that food safe. I also love adding fresh lemongrass, because I adore that bright lemony flavor it infuses into Thai food. Please click on the recipe source link to see how I made this, which is posted on my food blog.

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 (24-ounce) bag fresh spinach, rinsed and dried*
  • 3 medium shallots, diced
  • 2 heaping teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 {6 to 8-ounce} white fish fillets, thawed and skin removed (I used fresh halibut, but you can use Barramundi)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin on the bias
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 3 stalks fresh lemongrass, optional
  • Note: I don't have any problems wilting baby spinach, but I wilt it low and slow with olive oil. Using frozen spinach really doesn't work with this dish, as there is a LOT of water-- and the texture of wilted fresh spinach is hard to beat!


Servings 4
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 25mins
Adapted from


Step 1

In a deep 10-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Use tongs to toss the spinach. Once warm, add in the spinach and allow to begin to "wilt" (the spinach pile will begin to reduce).

Once it starts to wilt season with a pinch of kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Remove the wilted spinach to a clean bowl and set aside.

Note: I prefer to to make the spinach in a separate cast iron skillet, and the fish in another skillet. I don't mind cleaning two skillets, and I am better able to keep everything hot and ready to serve at the same time.

Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel (if using one skillet) and add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the shallots until slightly golden around the edges. About 5 minutes.

Stir in the Thai red curry paste and then pour in 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth, the can of lite coconut milk and a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir, bring to a simmer and reduce by half.

Note: If using the fresh lemon grass, cut off the root end and trim off the tips. Using the blunt end of a knife, "bruise" the lemon grass by pounding it a bit. Set into the broth to infuse with it's delicious lemony fragrance.

Season the fish fillets with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Next place the seasoned, skinless fish fillets into the coconut curry broth and spoon some of the broth over top. Cover the pan and let the fish poach for about 7 to 8 minutes or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
Remove the lemongrass, with tongs and toss.

Meanwhile combine the chopped cilantro, parsley, sliced green onions and cut the lime in half. Reserve 1/4 cup for garnishing.

Divide the spinach among four shallow bowls, top with the fillets.

Quickly add the chopped cilantro/parsley/green onion mixture to the coconut curry broth, squeeze in the entire lime, stir and ladle over the fish and spinach.

Serve with cooked Jasmine Rice.

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