Seared Salmon Poached in Coconut Milk

I was just talking my my sister Miriam yesterday, and we got onto the topic of FOOD. She reminded me of a Salmon recipe I haven’t made in awhile…and it just so happened that I had a nice big fillet of fresh bluff salmon in my freezer waiting to be cooked to perfection. Dinner sorted.

I absolutely love salmon, but I have this thing when it comes to eating it. I either like it raw – as in sashimi raw, or well done. Nothing in between– not seared with pink in the middle, or medium rare — eeww. I don’t know why, it just makes me queazy to even think about!

This recipe is so yummy, and the perfect light dinner for two. I used a blend of fried cumin seeds, garlic and chilies to spice it up a bit, and the flavors worked so well together. I chose cauliflower as the vegetable, which was served in a bowl topped with the baked salmon fillets and then drizzled with the spiced coconut milk, which turned out almost like a light curry. So delicious! 

Seared Salmon Poached in Coconut Milk

Dietary Info: GF/DF/SF/PA/V and Vegan! (*see notes at end of post for dietary codes)

Serves 2

Spice Meter: red chilired chilired chili
For a mild dish, use only one red chili – seeds removed.
For a medium dish, use two red chili’s – with seeds.
If you like it real spicy, use 3-4 red chili’s – with seeds.


  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped (or adjust for preferred level of spice)
  • 1 Tbs. coconut palm sugar
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 325g fresh salmon fillets, skin on
  • smoked sweet paprika
  • sea salt *see notes
  • 1 1/3 c. organic coconut milk (full fat)
  • half a head of cauliflower, florets chopped into bite size “trees”
  • smoked sweet paprika
  • sea salt
  • 2-3 Tbs. almond meal (optional)


  1. In a large non-stick fry pan, dry-fry the cumin seeds over medium heat for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the garlic, shallots, red chillies, coconut palm sugar and white wine vinegar and cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes, or until sauce has thicken and absorbed almost completely. You’ll know it’s done when the bottom of the pan starts getting a little sticky. 
  2. Transfer garlic and spices to a small bowl, and return pan to heat.
  3. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the same pan (don’t bother trying to scrape it clean first, all those sticky juices will add flavor to your seared salmon.
  4. Slice your salmon fillets into four cubed fillets, and sprinkle generously with sea salt. salmonsteaks
  5. Your pan should be sizzling hot now, which is perfect. Using tongs, quickly place each piece of salmon onto the hot pan, one at a time and let sear for only about 10-20 seconds on each side or until golden brown. Turn over and repeat until all sides are seared to a nice golden brown. salmonsearing2
  6. Reduce heat to low, and carefully pour coconut milk on top. Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely cover your salmon, so long as it covers the bottom of your saucepan in about half an inch or so you’ll be fine.
  7. Sprinkle your cauliflower florets all around salmon fillets and spoon some of the coconut milk from the pan on top so they get a nice bath. Add some sea salt on top, a few dashes of smoked sweet paprika and now you can sprinkle the sautéed garlic and spices on top.
  8. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Using your tongs, carefully transfer salmon pieces to a plate.
  10. Stir in a few Tablespoons of almond meal to your coconut milk and cauliflower mixture and stir well to combine. This just adds a little thickness, as well as a nice ‘nutty’ flavor. Taste, and add additional sea salt if needed. Check cauliflowers tenderness, and if cooked through, remove from heat. (otherwise cover and simmer for another 4-5 minutes)
  11. It’s ready to serve! I served this by dishing out the cauliflower into bowls first, placing two salmon pieces on top of each bowl of cauliflower, then I drizzled equal amounts of the spiced coconut milk on top. It was delightful.


This is my usual method of cooking salmon — searing it on all sides till nice and golden, then cooking it however I want– baking, poaching, or grilling… you obviously don’t have to do it this way, but ever since I first tried it I’m hooked!

If you are good at planning ahead, try soaking your salmon fillets in salt water for 30-60 minutes before cooking. This makes the salmon even more tender and adds that salty flavor without actually adding more salt to it, if you know what I mean.

searedsalmon4This dish was light, yet surprisingly filling and satisfying. And did I mention so delicious?

Special Dietary Needs:

Gluten Free/Grain Free = GF
Dairy Free = DF
Sugar Free = SF
Paleo Approved = PA
Vegetarian = V
Low Carb = LC

The above codes for specific dietary requirements will be found under each recipe title

11 thoughts on “Seared Salmon Poached in Coconut Milk

    • Yum! I’ll have to try that…I love grilled asparagus!! Have you ever tried making your own chilli oil (or garlic and chilli) at home? I make mine with extra virgin olive oil, but you’ve just given me the idea to try it next time with coconut oil instead!! It’s super easy to make and so nice to have an already spiced/flavoured oil to use in stir fries and grilled recipes…will have to post that one after I try it with coconut oil…thank you! 🙂

      • Now you’re talking! Jalapeno and Garlic?! Yum!! I wish I was as organized and prepared as you are… I’ll get onto that coconut oil asap, I’ve almost drained the last of my garlic/chili oil! Just may try a Jalapeno and Garlic one too – do you have to refrigerate the oil since it has the pepper and garlic or is it fine to store in the cupboard?

  1. Next time cut your Salmon width wise to get a flakery “steak” I love the sear then poach method it creates a excellent fond to baste the fish!

  2. omg this recipe sounds SUPER awesome! I can’t wait to try it out. I’m planning on adding some more seasonings (green onions, cilantro, riesling wine to the broth and coconut milk beverage rather than full fat). Let you know how it goes 🙂 But A+ on the tip about the salt bath for the fish!

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