halibut with red curry sauce

Red Curry Halibut

Many years ago, we ate at Earl’s Restaurant in downtown Denver.  I had a fabulous meal of halibut with Panang curry sauce, served with mushroom risotto and spinach.  Red curry halibut is my attempt to recreate the recipe.  My first experiments using store-bought curry sauces produced mediocre results.  I played around with different sauces and finally came up with one worth sharing with you. (My recipe is a simple red curry sauce, whereas Panang curry uses ingredients like galangal and kaffir lime leaves that aren’t readily available at most grocery stores.)

We recently ate at Earl’s again, and my tastebuds were set on halibut. I was disappointed that it was no longer on the menu, but I was inspired to make it again.  

Homemade mushroom risotto makes this dish even better. With an Instant Pot, you can make risotto in a fraction of the time, and it frees up a burner on the stove. When I don’t have the time to make risotto, I serve it over store-bought risotto. Either way, there should be enough leftovers to make risotto cakes.

Active time: 15 minutes Total time: 20 minutes

One-butt kitchen needs: 

  • With an Instant Pot, you can make mushroom risotto in a fraction of the time.

Serves 4


  • 2 tbsp avocado, olive, or canola oil
  • 2 large shallots, diced (or 1/2 cup onion, diced)
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 6-oz halibut fillets
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves, lightly packed
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced (green part only)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Mushroom risotto (see recipe) or use a store-bought risotto mix.


Rinse the halibut with cold water, then dry with a paper towel. Season the fish with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots.  Cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry paste.  Stir until curry paste is blended, 1 minute or less.  Add chicken broth, coconut milk, and salt. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, until sauce is reduced to about 3 cups.  Add lime juice.

Place the halibut in the pan, spooning the sauce over the fish.  Cover the pan and cook until the halibut flakes easily with a fork.

Put spinach in a microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly.  Microwave for 45 seconds.

To serve, use wide soup bowls or plates with a good rim to contain the sauce.  Place 2/3 cup risotto in center or bowl or plate.  Cover with a generous layer of spinach.  Top with halibut.  Spoon the curry sauce over the halibut and top with scallions and cilantro.


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