cod in coconut

Delightful Cod in Coconut Poaching

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Updated on March 20, 2024

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‘They say variety is the spice of life, and ‘Exotic Cod in Coconut Poaching Delight’ definitely brings a tang of novelty to the dinner table.

It’s a dish that seamlessly marries the succulent tenderness of cod with the rich, aromatic infusion of coconut milk, bay leaf, cardamom, and lemongrass.

The selection of the freshest fish, the careful crafting of the poaching liquor, and the exacting process of cooking the cod to perfection, all contribute to a mouthwatering delicacy that’s hard to resist.

What’s the secret to achieving the perfect balance of flavors? Well, that’s a tale for another time…’

Understanding the Ingredients


Let’s delve into the ingredients of this exotic recipe, as understanding them is key to unlocking the flavors of this delightful cod dish. Coconut milk, one of the primary ingredients, is renowned for its health benefits. It’s a great source of vitamins and minerals, and it’s also dairy-free. Its creamy texture and slightly sweet flavor profile lend themselves well to this dish, enhancing the cod’s delicate taste.

Then there’s lemongrass, a culinary gem in Asian cuisine. Its uses range from teas and soups to curries and fish dishes. Its zesty, citrusy flavor, along with its aromatic, slightly minty fragrance, add a uniquely refreshing note to this recipe.

These two ingredients, when combined, create an exotic, flavorful poaching liquor that allows the cod to shine.

Preparing the Ingredients

cod in coconut

Proper preparation of the ingredients is crucial to the success of this dish, beginning with the act of cracking open the cardamom pods to release their intense, spicy-sweet flavor.

Exploring flavor combinations, the aromatic lemongrass bulb is next, broken open to unleash its citrusy fragrance. These two ingredients intertwine, creating an exotic base for the poaching liquor.

Fresh cod, ideally firm to touch and with a clean smell, is the next ingredient. It’s worth noting that ingredient substitutions can occur, with halibut or sea bass offering different yet delightful experiences.

The coconut milk, a key component, should be rich and creamy, enhancing the dish’s overall flavor profile. Finally, a bay leaf adds an extra depth, completing this symphony of flavors.

Time and care in preparation promises a gastronomic delight.

Heating the Poaching Liquor

With the ingredients meticulously prepared, the focus now shifts to the delicate process of heating the poaching liquor to just the right temperature. This step is pivotal in the flavor infusion of the dish.

The coconut milk, bay leaf, cracked open cardamom pods, and crushed lemongrass bulb are combined and heated, under careful temperature control, to release their aromatic compounds into the liquid. The heat must be managed judiciously, ensuring it’s hot enough to extract the flavors but not boiling.

A gentle heat encourages the flavors to meld together, creating a rich, fragrant poaching liquor. Maintaining the correct temperature not only guarantees the optimum flavour infusion but also prepares the stage perfectly for the next crucial step: the introduction of the fresh cod.

Simmering the Liquor

Once the poaching liquor has heated sufficiently, it’s time to lower the heat and bring the aromatic mixture to a gentle simmer. This stage is crucial for flavor infusion, as the heat unlocks the essence of the spices, permeating the coconut milk with a rich, exotic profile. Maintaining a low, steady simmer allows these flavors to meld harmoniously, without risk of scorching or over-reduction.

Texture assessment is also key during this phase. The liquor should achieve a silky, velvety consistency, indicative of a well-emulsified blend. It’s important to stir occasionally, ensuring even heat distribution and preventing any solids from settling at the bottom. This meticulous simmering process sets the stage for the forthcoming immersion of the cod, paving the way for a truly sublime culinary experience.

Poaching the Cod

After the liquor has reached a gentle simmer, it’s now time to carefully immerse the fresh cod into the aromatic blend, kickstarting the poaching process. This step is crucial in allowing the flavorful seasonings in the coconut milk, such as the cracked cardamom pods and the fractured lemongrass bulb, to penetrate the fish.

Poaching, one of the more delicate cooking techniques, requires a watchful eye and a patient hand. The fish should be fully submerged, but the heat must remain low, ensuring the cod doesn’t cook too quickly or become tough. As the cod poaches, it absorbs the exotic flavors and transforms into a culinary delight.

The result is a tender, moist piece of cod, delicately flavored with a hint of the tropics. Remember, timing is key to avoid overcooking.

Ladling the Liquor

As the cod gently simmers in the aromatic blend, it’s essential to periodically ladle the coconut milk-based liquor over the fish to ensure even cooking and optimal flavor infusion. This method allows the flavors of the cardamom, bay leaf, and lemongrass to seep deeper into the flesh of the cod, imparting a rich, exotic taste that’s utterly delightful.

The process also necessitates a texture assessment. The ladling action should be done gently, preserving the cod’s delicate texture. A soft touch ensures the fish doesn’t break apart prematurely, maintaining its firmness till it’s ready to be served.

In essence, ladling the liquor isn’t just about cooking the cod evenly, but also about enhancing the flavor and texture to create a culinary masterpiece.

Cooking the Cod

cod in coconut

Immersed in the simmering, aromatic liquor, the cod begins its transformation, soaking in the exotic flavors while it cooks for about 4-6 minutes. The flavorful seasonings of cardamom, lemongrass, and bay leaf permeate the fish, enhancing its subtle taste.

It’s crucial to maintain a gentle, steady simmer, one of the key cooking techniques in poaching. Too high a heat will toughen the fish; too low, it won’t fully absorb the flavors.

The coconut milk, rich and creamy, lends a velvety texture and a hint of sweetness that balances the spices. And as the cod poaches, it releases its juices into the broth, further enriching the flavor.

This interplay of seasonings and techniques results in a cod that’s tender, moist, and exotically delicious.

Checking Fish Readiness

cod in coconut

To ensure the cod is cooked to perfection, it’s essential to check its firmness and look for signs of flaking, which indicate that the fish is ready to be served. Evaluating the fish texture requires a delicate touch. One should lightly press the thickest part of the cod with a fork. If it’s cooked properly, the flesh will yield slightly, but bounce back into place.

The flaking test is another reliable method to assess readiness. Gently prod the fish with a fork; if it begins to flake apart easily, it’s done. However, if it resists and stays together, it needs more time. Remember, overcooked cod becomes dry and loses its delightful flavor. Mastering these tests ensures a succulent, perfectly-poached cod every time.

Buying Fresh Fish Tips

cod in coconut

While mastering the art of checking cod for readiness is key, it’s equally important to start your cooking journey with fresh, high-quality fish. At the fish market, one’s seafood selection can make or break the dish. A fresh fish doesn’t smell fishy; instead, it carries the clean scent of the ocean.

The flesh should be firm, bouncing back when lightly pressed. It shouldn’t be soft or mushy, which are tell-tale signs of age. The eyes are another great indicator of freshness. They should be clear and bright, not cloudy or dull.

Lastly, the skin should be shiny, almost metallic, and the scales tightly adhered. Securing fresh, quality fish can significantly elevate the taste and presentation of your exotic cod poached in coconut delight.

Serving Suggestions for Cod

Once you’ve perfectly poached your cod in aromatic coconut milk, there are a myriad of ways you can serve this exotic dish to enhance its flavors and create a truly memorable dining experience. An essential part is the addition of flavorful seasonings. A drizzle of Asian dressing, with its blend of sweet, salty, and tangy flavors, complements the rich, creamy taste of the coconut-poached cod.

Presentation techniques also come into play. Placing the cod on a bed of jasmine rice adds a touch of elegance and provides a delightful textural contrast. Garnishing the dish with fresh herbs, such as cilantro or Thai basil, not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds a burst of freshness that balances the rich flavors. With these suggestions, you’ll serve a dish that’s a feast for the eyes and the palate.

Salad and Potato Pairing

cod in coconut

Pairing the exotic coconut-poached cod with a crisp salad and boiled potatoes creates an amalgamation of textures and flavors that’s truly delightful. The salad brings a fresh crunchiness that contrasts well with the cod’s delicate texture, while boiled potatoes add a hearty, earthy note.

To infuse the potatoes with more taste, one might consider adding flavorful seasonings such as garlic, rosemary, or a dash of sea salt and black pepper. They’re a blank canvas, really, ready to take on any spice profile one desires. The perfect pairings are all about balance and harmony.

The richness of the cod, the crunchiness of the salad, and the heartiness of the potatoes form a trinity of taste that’s satisfying and nuanced, offering a culinary experience that’s both comforting and exotic.

Asian Dressing Drizzle

cod in coconut

An Asian dressing, with its harmonious blend of savory, sweet, tangy, and spicy elements, can truly elevate the flavor profile of the coconut-poached cod.

This dressing, typically concocted from soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a touch of honey, offers a delightful contrast to the creamy, subtly flavored coconut-poached fish. The key to creating this exquisite pairing lies in exploring flavor combinations, ensuring the dressing doesn’t overpower the delicate cod.

The cooking technique for the fish is equally critical. Gentle poaching in the infused coconut milk ensures the cod remains tender and succulent. Drizzling the Asian dressing over the perfectly cooked cod not only complements the dish but adds a vibrant splash of color.

Indeed, this Asian dressing drizzle is the finishing flourish that transforms the dish into an exotic delight.

Enjoying With White Wine

Sipping a glass of white wine while savoring the exotic flavors of the coconut-poached cod can elevate the dining experience to new heights. The art of wine pairing plays a crucial role here.

A crisp, fruity white wine, perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc or Chablis, complements the dish impeccably. The wine’s acidity cuts through the richness of the coconut milk, while its citrus notes harmonize with the fragrant lemongrass and cardamom. These flavor profiles, when matched correctly, result in a symphony of taste.

The wine should be served chilled, to contrast the warm, velvety texture of the cod. Ultimately, a good wine pairing not only enhances the meal but also invites conversation, turning the culinary occasion into a memorable event.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Suitable Substitutes for Cod if It Is Not Available?

If cod’s not on hand, they’ve got options. Halibut’s a terrific substitute, boasting similar nutrition benefits to cod. It’s lean, packed with protein and omega-3’s. Haddock’s another good pick, it’s flaky and mild, much like cod.

Sustainable seafood alternatives? They can’t go wrong with farmed rainbow trout or Arctic char. Both are environmentally friendly choices that don’t skimp on flavor. So, they’re still in for a delightful meal, even without the cod.

Can I Use Frozen Cod Instead of Fresh for This Recipe?

Absolutely, they can use frozen cod instead of fresh.

In the ‘Frozen vs Fresh’ debate, it’s crucial to remember that quality isn’t compromised if the fish is properly frozen. However, correct ‘Defrosting Techniques’ are essential.

They shouldn’t rush defrosting, it’s best done overnight in the fridge. If they’re in a hurry, they can use the cold-water method but never at room temperature. This ensures the texture and flavor remain intact.

Is There Any Specific Type of Coconut Milk Recommended for This Recipe?

In selecting coconut milk for any recipe, it’s essential to consider both flavor and health benefits. Full-fat coconut milk provides a richer, creamier taste, ideal for savory dishes. However, if one’s watching their calorie intake, light coconut milk’s a good alternative. It’s less dense but still imparts that tropical flavor.

Can This Dish Be Prepared in Advance and Reheated?

They can definitely prepare this dish in advance. However, one should be mindful of poaching techniques. Overcooking might make the cod tough when reheating. Instead, undercook it slightly.

Upon reheating, the cod continues to cook, retaining its tender texture. Furthermore, flavor pairings matter. When reheating, add a splash of coconut milk to ensure the dish doesn’t dry out and maintains its exotic flavor.

What Other Types of Seafood Can I Use With This Recipe?

She’s curious about diversifying her seafood selection. Exploring shellfish options, she considers shrimp or scallops as alternatives. Both absorb flavors well, much like cod.

Incorporating squid varieties, she realizes calamari might add a unique texture to the dish. However, she’s aware that squid needs careful cooking to prevent it from becoming rubbery.

She’s excited, understanding she can experiment with her seafood choices and still maintain the essence of her favorite recipe.


In essence, the ‘Exotic Cod Poached in Coconut Delight’ is a culinary masterpiece that offers a delightful gastronomic journey.

The fusion of flavors, the delicate cooking process, and the thoughtfully suggested pairings not only enhance the dining experience but also enrich one’s culinary skills.

Whether you’re a novice or a master chef, this dish is sure to tantalize your taste buds and inspire your culinary creativity.

Happy cooking and bon appétit!

Video Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:00)
Hi, guys. I’m Ian Hunter from Belfast Cookery School. Welcome to amazingfoodanddrink. Com. And today we’re going to be cooking amazing piece of fresh cod in a fragrant, coconut poaching liquor. To your pan. I’m going to put this at… This would be Gasmark 7, okay? An electric hub, it would be number seven, okay? Four 400 millilitres of coconut milk, bay leaf, star anise, two cardamom pods, which I’m just going to get the knife and crack open. Releasing all that aromatic flavours. Lemon grass bulb. The back of the knife, I’m just going to break that open, releasing all the fragrant flavours and oils. Now, we’re going to leave that for four minutes to bring it up to heat to release all those beautiful flavours. Okay, everybody. Now, the pooch and liquor is boiling. We’re just going to drop it down to a simmer. Okay, so we need to bring it up to the boil to release all the beautiful flavours and frequencies. Now, before it pop the fish in, I just want to give you a few wee hint, guys. When you’re buying fresh fish, okay, the two main things to look for, okay? And this is a stunning piece of fresh cod.

Speaker 1 (01:28)
What do you look for in your supermarket or your in the fish market? Firstly, the smell. You don’t want it to smell a fish, obviously. It’s just a nice, salty… It smells of the sea. The second main one is when you touch it, the flesh is nice and firm. Your finger sinks into it, it starts to deteriorate and go off. So you want a nice, firm fish as well. Now, just on a spatula, slip the cod gently into the poaching liquor. You don’t want it to splash back and get burned, okay? So that’s it, gently in to the poach and liquor. Bringing the heat slightly up again. And I’m just going to start ladeling the juices over the top of the cod. Now, this should take 4 to 6 minutes. Now, 6 minutes of basting. Just feel the fish is nice and firm and starting to flake. That’s when you know it’s definitely ready. You’re starting to get a little bit of flaking coming off the fish. That’s it ready. And you want to enjoy that with a nice bit of salad, a few baby boiled potatoes, a nice Asian dressing. That’s it.

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