Thai-Style Cod à la Nage (Poached in Broth) With Coconut Milk, Lime, and Lemongrass Recipe

Cod, gently poached in a rich coconut milk broth.

A bowl of cod à la nage with coconut milk, lime, and lemongrass, garnished with cilantro and basil.
Cod gently cooked with Thai flavors.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Poaching the cod half-submerged in simmering liquid cooks it very gently.
  • Using a smaller amount of poaching liquid and adding lots of aromatics helps season the fish. The broth, in turn, better captures the cod's flavor.
  • Varying the proportion of coconut milk in the broth allows you to adjust the richness of the dish.

This flavor-forward cod recipe is inspired by Thai cuisine and flavored with coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, and fresh chile peppers. As I pointed out when I wrote about cooking à la nage, the fish is only half-submerged in simmering broth, which cooks it more gently than regular poaching. Plus, the smaller amount of aromatic broth effectively seasons the cod while becoming infused with the cod's flavor. If you want a richer broth, go ahead and use all coconut milk for the liquid; it'll be thick and intense and, frankly, a little fatty. If you want to lighten it a bit, you can substitute half the coconut milk with vegetable or fish broth.

A bowl of cod à la nage with coconut milk, lime, and lemongrass, garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

July 2015

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • 1 fresh Thai red chile or Fresno pepper, stemmed and thinly sliced

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk (see notes)

  • 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce

  • 3 (2-inch) strips lime peel from 1 lime

  • 1 (2-inch) knob peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced

  • 1 (8-inch) stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-inch lengths and bruised with blunt side of knife

  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus picked leaves for garnish

  • 2 sprigs basil, preferably Thai basil, plus torn leaves for garnish

  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless cod fillets

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 limes, plus extra wedges for serving


  1. In a large, straight-sided sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallot, garlic, and chile and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened and shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add coconut milk (and broth, if using; see notes), fish sauce, lime peel, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro sprigs, and basil sprigs. Season cod with salt and pepper, then nestle in coconut broth; the fish should be partially submerged. Bring liquid to a simmer, then cover pan and lower heat. Cook, covered, until cod is just cooked through and registers 135°F (57°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.

  3. Using a slotted spatula, transfer cod to bowls. Whisk lime juice into broth. Season broth with salt and pepper, then ladle all around fish in the bowls along with the vegetables. Garnish with cilantro and basil leaves. Serve right away with lime wedges on the side.

Special Equipment

Instant-read thermometer


Using all coconut milk makes a thicker, richer broth; for a lighter version, use only one can of coconut milk and replace the other with 14 ounces of vegetable or fish broth.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
660 Calories
51g Fat
13g Carbs
44g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 660
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 51g 65%
Saturated Fat 38g 191%
Cholesterol 94mg 31%
Sodium 713mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 83mg 6%
Iron 8mg 44%
Potassium 1001mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)