Cook/ Easy Weeknight

Poached Cod in Coconut Milk

August 29, 2020

Last Updated on August 29, 2020 by Slow The Cook Down

This super quick and easy meal is perfect for the days when you are running short on time. Made in one pan on the stovetop, this poached cod is cooked in coconut milk for a flavorful dish made with just a handful of simple ingredients. Ready to serve in just 20 minutes.

Overhead shot of poached fish in a skillet with fresh cilantro garnish

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Right now I am all about quick and easy weeknight meals. I feel like I’ve got so much work on so those long leisurely dinners just aren’t an option unfortunately. But quick doesn’t have to mean boring people!

Fish is super quick to cook and when it’s poached in coconut milk, and some chili and lime it tastes super amazing! It’s sweet with a hint of sourness and with just the right amount of heat. Poaching lean fish helps to lock in the moisture for a really succulent dish. It’s a great go to dinner that also happens to be pretty healthy.

If you are after more quick and easy dinners, be sure to check out my Oven Baked Red Pesto Frittata and Marinated Flank Steak Tacos.

Ingredients

  • Garlic and ginger: If you can, use fresh garlic and ginger as the flavor will be much bolder, but you can use jarred if you have it.
  • Onion: I used a red onion which has a milder taste, but you can use white or yellow.
  • Coconut milk: I used a full fat coconut milk which has a richer falvor, but you can use lite. Use canned and not cartoned.
  • Crushed chilies / chili paste: Add this to suit your tastes. I used 2 tablespoons and it was just right for us but you can reduce the amount if you are sensitive to heat.
  • Lime juice: Use fresh lime juice rather than bottled as it’s much zingier.
  • Fish sauce: Fish sauce adds a nice umami saltiness. You can also use soy sauce.
  • Cod: Use nice thick cod fillets. I cooked two for this recipe, but if you are feeding more, you can easily add another couple of fillets into the pan, just don’t overcrowd them.
  • Salt and pepper: For seasoning the cod.
A piece of cooked fish on a spatula

How to poach cod in coconut milk

Be sure to scroll down for the full recipe!

  • Saute the garlic, ginger and onion until soft (photo 1).
  • Stir in the coconut milk and other sauce ingredients (photo 2).
  • Bring to a boil, than turn the heat to medium.
  • Place in the cod, cover and cook until the fish is done (photo 3).
step by step photos to show how to make the recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use frozen cod?

I prefer to use fresh cod from the fish counter for this recipe as you can choose a nice thick cut, but if you have frozen, you can absolutely use that. Ensure that the fillets are totally thawed and patted dry of any excess moisture before seasoning and adding to the pan.

Can you make this recipe with other fish?

Yes! I prefer to poach leaner and firm fish that won’t fall apart during the cooking process. Pollock, haddock, sole and bass will all work well.

What do you serve it with?

This fish is perfect to serve over rice or cauliflower rice and then served with a vegetable side like steamed broccoli, pak choi or roasted zucchini. I like to garnish with some fresh cilantro, parsley would work well too.

How long does it take to poach fish?

Poaching is a super quick method for cooking fish. It takes around 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets.

Top Tips For Poaching Fish

  • Don’t let the sauce that the fish is cooking in boil or simmer. Longer at a lower temperature is better.
  • Keep your eye on the pan and adjust the temperature if the sauce starts to bubble.
  • The ideal temperature for the sauce is 140F if you have an instant read thermometer. Otherwise it should be steaming but not bubbling.
  • Keep the lid on the pan once you add the fish, this way you can easily keep your eye on it without the heat escaping.
Fish served with cauliflower rice

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Mince the garlic and ginger as finely as you can for the best flavor.
  • Adjust the chili to suit your tastes.
  • You will need a large skillet or pan with a lid. The fish won’t fully cook unless you cover it during poaching. Use a glass lid so that you can see what is happening in the pan
  • Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of your fillets. The fish is cooked when it is opaque in colour and easily flakes.
  • Serve immediately. Reheating can cause the fish to dry out. If you do have leftovers they will keep well in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

More Easy Seafood Recipes

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Poached cod in a pan with coconut milk and spices

Poached Cod in Coconut Milk

This super quick and easy meal is perfect for the days when you are running short on time. Made in one pan on the stovetop, this poached cod is cooked in coconut milk for a flavorful dish made with just a handful of simple ingredients. Ready to serve in just 20 minutes.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 333kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cod fillets (around 5 to 6 ounces / 150g to 160g each)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 3/4 can coconut milk (about 10 oz / 300ml)
  • 2 tablespoons crushed chilies or chili paste. Add to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

Instructions

  • Pat dry the cod and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a little oil on a medium high heat on the stovetop.
  • Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes then add the red onion. Cook until softened.
  • Pour in the coconut milk, chili, lime juice and fish sauce. Stir to combine and bring to the boil.
  • Once boiling, turn the heat down. The liquid should be steaming but not bubbling.
  • Place in the cod fillets and put the lid on the skillet.
  • Cook for around 10 minutes until the fish is opaque and easily flakes away.
  • Serve immediately and spoon the onions and sauce over the top.

Notes

  • Mince the garlic and ginger as finely as you can for the best flavor.
  • Adjust the chili to suit your tastes.
  • You will need a large skillet or pan with a lid. The fish won’t fully cook unless you cover it during poaching. Use a glass lid so that you can see in the pan.
  • Don’t let the sauce that the fish is cooking in boil or simmer. Longer at a lower temperature is better.
  • Keep your eye on the pan and adjust the temperature if the sauce starts to bubble.
  • The ideal temperature for the sauce is 140F if you have an instant read thermometer. Otherwise it should be steaming but not bubbling.
  • Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of your fillets. The fish is cooked when it is opaque in colour and easily flakes.
  • Serve immediately. Reheating can cause the fish to dry out. If you do have leftovers they will keep well in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 330mg | Potassium: 935mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg
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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Amy
    September 21, 2020 at 1:36 am

    5 stars
    I love fish poached in coconut milk, and this version is super fast and really yummy! I’ll definitely make it again!

  • Reply
    Pia K
    September 3, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    5 stars
    Greetings from Finland and thank you again for a delicious recipe! This was super easy to make and we absolutely loved this! I used frozen Alaska pollock files and substituted the red onion with two shallots. I found the sauce was a bit too acidic for my taste (maybe my lime was extra juicy) so I balanced the flavour with some brown cane sugar in the end. We had this meal for lunch over 2 hours ago and we are still smiling because this was sooooo goood! Plus we decided to visit Toronto someday just to say thank you in person! <3 This is the best food blog in so many levels and I can't wait to try out more of your recipes!

    • Reply
      Slow The Cook Down
      September 3, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Ah Pia, thank you so much for your kind words! This put a huge smile on my face this morning! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, it’s so easy and quick and super yummy! Look forward to your Toronto visit!

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