Skip to Content

Poached Cod in Coconut Milk with Pak Choi

Poached cod loin in coconut milk with Thai influences served with sautéed pak choi & sugar snap peas a simple, delicious & elegant meal.

Poaching fish is a wonderfully gentle way of delivering beautifully cooked fish, and it is quick too, this entire meal comes together in around 30 minutes.

Overhead cod loin poached in coconut milk with pak choi and sugar snap peas.

Poached White Fish in Coconut Milk

If you spend any time on my site you may get the impression that I have a thing for “fish”.

I adore the stuff and eat it all of the time, whether it is deep-fried in batter like my chip shop style fried fish, breaded like my monkfish goujons, or pan-fried like my skate wings in a prosecco sauce, I honestly can’t get enough of it.

My latest creation is some poached cod, and rather than poaching it in milk I have taken some Thai influences and used coconut milk instead.

I flavour the coconut milk with lime leaves, lemongrass, Thai basil, ginger and fish sauce for seasoning.

The fish takes no time to cook at all, it is done in 6 to 8 minutes and it is always perfectly cooked.

Whilst the fish is gently poaching I knock up some pak choi and sugar snap peas to round out a complete meal.

If you like the sound of this then you must try my Thai green fish curry!

Close-up cod loin poached in coconut milk with fresh chilli.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of fish?

Yes, this dish works equally well with any white firm-fleshed fish. You could use everything from halibut to hake and pollock or coley at the cheaper end of the spectrum.

Can I use fish fillets rather than loin?

Yes, but they will cook a lot quicker, maybe in 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness. They are also less “blingy” in terms of presentation, but no less tasty.

Can I use low-fat or no-fat coconut milk?

My stock answer to this question is normally no.

However, in this recipe, you can use low-fat coconut milk without there being a massive difference in flavour or texture. So if you feel the need to, then knock yourself out.

Do I have to use fish sauce?

You do not have to but if you can then I would recommend doing so. Light soy sauce makes an “acceptable” substitution in terms of seasoning but it is not the same in terms of flavour.

What can I use in place of Thai basil?

If you can’t get Thai basil then a mix of regular basil and mint makes a pleasing approximation. I would use the same overall volume with a 2:1 split between basil and mint.

I find that Sainsbury’s regularly stocks Thai basil in the UK.

Poached cod loin in coconut milk with pak choi and chilli.

Serving Suggestions

I’ve served this poached cod with coconut milk with some sautéed pak choi & sugar snap peas cooked in garlic and fish sauce to create a complete meal.

However, the fish is the star of this recipe and you could pair it with lots of different options.

The obvious choice would be some rice, coconut rice would be nice but lime and coriander rice would be even better.

In terms of greens, an old favourite of mine, roasted tenderstem broccoli would work perfectly. It is quick to cook and really tasty, you could even throw it in the air fryer!

If you want to make a similar accompaniment to the one I have but with different vegetables, then stuff like peas, mangetout, asparagus and even little gem lettuce would all be good additions.

Close-up overhead cod loin poached in coconut milk.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 24cm or 10″ frying pan.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan with a lid.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Baking parchment.
Poached cod loin in coconut milk with pak choi, sugar snap peas and chilli.
Yield: 2 Servings

Poached Cod in Coconut Milk Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Chunky pieces of cod loin poached in coconut flavoured with lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves and Thai basil and then served with some simply cooked garlicky pak choi and sugar snap peas.


For the Poached Fish:

  • 400g (140z) Cod Loin in Two Pieces
  • 400g (14oz) Tin Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Stick of Lemon Grass
  • 15g (Half of a thumb sized piece) Ginger
  • 6 Lime Leaves
  • 1 Tsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 20g (½-⅔ Packed Cup) Thai Basil including stems

For the Pak Choi and Sugar Snap Peas:

  • 2 Medium-Large (250g Total) Pak Choi
  • 100g (1 Cup) Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil

To Garnish (Optional):

  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Red Chilli Pepper


  1. Place the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime leaves and brown sugar in a 24cm (10") skillet or frying pan.
  2. Bash the lemon grass with the back of a knife to bruise it a little and throw it into the pan.
  3. Slice the ginger into coin-sized rounds and throw them into the pan.
  4. Strip the leaves from the Thai basil, bash the stems with a knife to bruise them and add them to the poaching liquid.
  5. Heat the poaching liquid over a medium heat and allow it to cook for 8-10 minutes whilst you prepare the remaining ingredients. Do not boil the liquid hard so if it starts to boil, reduce the heat a little.
  6. Cut the woody bases of the pak choi and then cut them in half lengthways.
  7. Top and tail the sugar snap peas.
  8. If you are using the chilli dice it as finely as you can, discarding the seeds.
  9. If you are adding lime, cut it in half.
  10. Trim up the fish, if it has skin on leave it on whilst you are poaching the fish because it will help it hold together.
  11. Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  12. Place the fish in the poaching liquid and cook for 6-8 minutes, depending on thickness.
  13. Add the oil to the second frying pan, add the pak choi, and cook cut side down for 60 seconds.
  14. Add the garlic and sugar snap peas and cook for another minute.
  15. Pour in the water and soy sauce, reduce the heat to medium-low, add a lid and cook until the fish is ready.
  16. When the fish is cooked remove it from the pan, place it on some baking parchment and remove the skin if you left it on.
  17. Strain the solids from the poaching liquid and return it to the pan over a very high heat and reduce to for a minute or two.
  18. Remove the lid from the pak choi and toss through the Thai basil.
  19. Plate up with the veggies, then add the fish, drizzle over some of the sauce add a squeeze of lime juice and the diced chilli pepper.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 763Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 38gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 2733mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 57g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Skip to Recipe