Aromatic Fish Poached in Coconut Milk, Lime and Lemongrass


All of a sudden the temperature has gone up (OK only to a massive 18˚C or 64˚F but still,) and today the sun came out - so not only did I get to line-dry all the sheets (nothing like fresh sheets, dried by the sun!), but it also put me in the mood for something light to eat. This fish poached in coconut milk fit the bill perfectly - I used light coconut milk so it it isn't cloying or overpowering, and the flavours infused in it - garlic, lemongrass, lime, chilli, brown sugar, fish sauce and star anise give it the perfect hot/salty/sweet/sour combination to compliment the fish. Delicious with Jasmine or Basmati rice and some fresh greens, it is my ideal dinner for today!

2 x 400ml cans light coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks lemongrass, bashed with a rolling pin
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 1/2 red chillies, de-seeded and sliced 
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 star anise
1 tbsp brown sugar or palm sugar
 4 x 180g firm white fish fillets, I used Blue Cod
1 spring onion, sliced
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts, chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped coriander
1 tsp black sesame seeds, optional
2 limes, quartered

Jasmine or Basmati rice and broccolini to serve.

Organise the rice to cook while you are making the fish - it only takes 15 minutes from start to finish, so you can't leave the rice until the end! Put 650ml of the coconut milk in a large deep fry pan or saucepan (put the remaining 150ml of coconut milk in with your rice...coconut rice!) Add garlic, lemongrass, lime zest and juice, 2 of the red chillies, fish sauce, star anise and brown sugar.  Heat until almost boiling then reduce temperature and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours, and reduce slightly. Add fish in a single layer, and poach until the fish is opaque and just cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Spoon rice into four bowls or plates and carefully lay fish on top. Spoon over some of the poaching liquid and sprinkle over spring onion, cashews, coriander, remaining chilli and sesame seeds. Transfer the rest of the poaching liquid to a jug (remove flavouring if you wish - up to you whether you want to leave the 'bits' in or not). Serve with lime wedges and the remaining poaching liquid - I like to serve it like this beacause after a few minutes the rice has absorbed a lot of the coconut milk, and it's nice to add the extra then, rather than delivering 'soup' rice if you know what I mean. Serves 4. (The fish sauce provides a salty note but if you feel you need more you can also serve with a wee bit of sea salt)



  1. Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious!

    1. Yay, so glad you enjoyed it Miriam - thanks for letting me know! :)

  2. Found this after a short search on fish and coconut milk. I loved it; even the [teenage] kids liked it!