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Coconut-Curry Rice with Salmon and Cilantro

4 Servings

40 minutes 15 minutes active

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The Maldivian dish called mas bai gave us the idea for this rich, fragrant one-pot fish and rice dish. For ease, we use curry powder instead of handful of individual spices to deliver both flavor and color. We cut the fish into small chunks and scatter them over the rice immediately after steaming; the rice’s residual heat gently cooks the fish so the pieces, even if small, remain moist and flavorful.



40 minutes

15 minutes active


  • 3

    tablespoons neutral oil OR coconut oil

  • 1

    bunch cilantro, chopped, stems and leaves reserved separately

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Dawn C.
July 11, 2022
A family favorite
We have this dish on a regular basis and is a solid standby dish for crowds when I have guests. This remains one of the few dishes that I make that everyone in my house actually really likes. I modify by using a full can of light coconut milk plus additional water to account for the liquid. I also agree with the previous reviewer that more liquid is needed than what it calls for if you plan to use unwashed rice. I also lower leave the burner on low while the first round of salmon is steaming because usually (with the extra liquid) it needs more time to fully cook. Finally, I double the salmon that it calls for. If you like chili pepper flakes, it really adds a lot of great flavor at the end!
Nabeel I.
June 17, 2022
Good flavor, but needs some work
Followed the recipe exactly, but there was definitely not enough water here to cook the rice. I had to add another ~1/2 cup of water to get the rice fully cooked. Also, I think salt should be added when the water and coconut milk are added. Waiting until the end to salt it does not uniformly infuse the food with salt, so it was hard to get the full punch of the flavor. Finally, on a more tactical level, I really wish they would list the quantity of water in the list of ingredients. Why bury a measurement in the directions?
Sarah F.

I love the cooking method for the fish in this recipe. I definitely recommend adding salt to this recipe before the rice cooks. It's way too late to season at the end. Added lime juice for a pop as it was a little flat. Would bump up the curry next time as well.

Susan R.

Found this dish to be very lackluster in taste. Normally MilKStreet recipes are bursting in flavor. Agree with Sarah F. above - more curry, ginger salt and pepper or maybe even coriander and cumin

Terri K.

This is a fantastic way to cook salmon! If cooking this for children who don't like spicy food, use sweet curry powder. I've used both Penzey's and Starwest Organic from Amazon. They taste about the same to me.

Esther D.

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Blake S.

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Nabeel I.

This recipe could be good, but needs to be reworked by the Milk Street team.

As Sarah F. wrote, this definitely needs salt prior to the last step as indicated in the original recipe. The picture shows salmon that is definitely larger than the 1/2" described in the recipe. The residual heat was not enough to cook the salmon, so I threw the pan under the broiler for a minute or two. Also, my rice came out slightly undercooked. It would probably benefit from another 2-4 Tbsp of water.

patrick o.

I loved the process..totally agree with comments about salt and next time will try adding a little fish sauce with the liquid ingredients. @Nabeel --my salmon pieces did not cook from the steam either but when I folded them into the hot rice they quickly cooked and were moist yet retained their fullness.
Does anyone know if I can freeze left overs?
Thanks Milk Street--this was something new for me

Melody L.

This was really good! Per the other comments, I doubled the ginger and curry powder and added a tsp of salt with the rice. I also substituted some of the water for chicken broth and put some chili garlic sauce on the table for everyone to add into their individual bowls. Though I changed a lot of the flavoring, the technique in the recipe is exactly what I was looking for. It was a super simple meal that I will definitely be making again.