This quick and easy dish of cod poached in coconut milk features bold, Thai-inspired flavors, including lemongrass, ginger, fresh chilies, and fish sauce.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 fresh Thai red chili or Fresno pepper, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk (see note)
- 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
In a large, straight-sided sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallot, garlic, and chili and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened and shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add coconut milk (and broth, if using; see note), 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 on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.
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.
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.