Pepper Thai The Pepper Thai Cookbook by Pepper Teigen

Choo chee is the Thai phrase that describes the sound of sizzling, like the noise you hear when you order a plate of fajitas. I’ve always had a soft spot for choo chee curry -instead of being a soupy curry, it’s a thick, creamy sauce that is simmered in the pan until it pops and sizzles and is then poured over any kind of seafood (baked salmon is my favorite). As a bonus, you can make the whole dish using one pan. 

Serves 4


  • 4 skin-on salmon fillets (6 to 8 ounces each), any bones removed

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

  • 5 fresh makrut lime leaves, halved lengthwise (optional)

  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • Grated zest of 2 limes

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

  • 2 fresh red chiles, such as Fresnos, thinly sliced (or substitute red bell pepper)

  • Cooked jasmine rice, for serving

Rub the salmon all over with the soy sauce and sprinkle with garlic powder and white pepper.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering-hot. Add the salmon skin side down and cook until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, flip the fillets over, and cook until the fish is firm and flakes easily with a fork, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the salmon from the pan.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Add the remaining oil and heat over medium heat until shimmering-hot. Add the curry paste and lime leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add 1 cup of the coconut milk and bring to a bubble, then stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, and lime juice. Once the sugar is dissolved, return the salmon to the pan and turn to coat in the sauce (you’re just glazing the salmon with the sauce - you’re not cooking the salmon any more).

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle each fillet with 1 tablespoon coconut milk, and garnish with basil and chiles. Serve with rice.