Cod and Halibut Poached in Thai Coconut Curry

The final product: poached cod over a bed of quinoa and wilted spinach, topped with green onions, baby mushrooms and lime.

I am back in Seattle and taking full advantage of the seafood options! When I look for new ingredients, I consider the nutrition, sustainability and cost of my options. Lately, my local grocery store, PCC, has featured wild-caught halibut and cod.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is my go-to source for recommendations on sustainable fish options and based on their findings, cod is the way to go. However, I bought both filets from the local PCC, which was just voted Whole Foods Magazine’s 2016 Retailer of the Year.  The article announcing PCC’s accomplishment highlights that my grocer was the “founding partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, selling only seafood that has been fished or farmed in ways that protect sea life and habitats,” and that led me to conclude that the wild halibut at my store was sustainably caught. Finally, cod is typically less expensive than halibut in my area, but for the sake of trying out this recipe, I bought filets of both types of fish.  In the end, I prefer cod for a recipe like this, where you want the fish to take on some of the broth’s flavor.

This dish is all about marrying flavors for a satisfying broth that unites the veggies, protein and carb ingredients. I visited the cooking blog “Alaska from Scratch” for a poached halibut recipe, which was adapted from another blog post from “Simply Scratch.” The main difference between the recipes is our fish preference (barramundi –> halibut –> cod). I also tweaked my broth to add a little depth to the flavor, threw in some local, small mushrooms and substituted quinoa for jasmine rice.


Poached Fish in Thai Coconut Curry Sauce – serves 2

I love a rich curry broth, and you can achieve that depth of flavor with a little soy sauce or fish sauce. You can always use more spinach, but this ratio of ingredients worked out well for us.
You will need:IMG_6751

  1. 2 T olive oil
  2. 10 oz fresh spinach
  3. salt and pepper, to taste
  4. 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  5. 1 T Thai red curry paste
  6. 2 t soy sauce or fish sauce
  7. 1 1/2 C chicken broth (I used low sodium)
  8. 14 oz coconut milk
  9. ½ t sugar
  10. 1 lb halibut or cod
  11. ¼ C green onions, sliced
  12. 1 lime

 Optional: serve over quinoa or rice. I cooked my quinoa in equal parts water and chicken broth.


  1. If you are serving your fish with quinoa, get that started first. For best results, rinse quinoa in a mesh sieve under running water until water runs clear. Next, toast quinoa in a medium saucepan over low heat until excess rinsing water has evaporated and quinoa starts to smell a little nutty. Then, add liquids and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover to cook for 15 minutes.  When your cooking liquid has been completely absorbed, cover pot and remove from heat to let quinoa sit for 5-10 minutes, fluff with fork before serving.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sauté for about 5 minutes until just wilted.  Set aside cooked spinach and wipe liquid out of pan.
  3. Add 1 T olive oil to your large saucepan and warm over medium heat.  Add chopped garlic, stirring constantly so garlic does not burn.  Add curry paste, soy sauce, chicken broth, coconut milk and sugar.  Raise heat and bring to a simmer (until the surface just bubbles) and then turn heat to low.
  4. When curry liquid has reduced to about half, add your fish, scooping some poaching liquid over the filets.  Cover the saucepan and poach fish for about 5 minutes, adding an extra minute or two for thicker filets.  When fish is done, it should flake easily when tested with a fork.
  5. Remove fish from poaching liquid and add green onions, mushrooms and juice from half the lime to your broth.  Stir to combine and let the flavors combine for about 2 minutes.
  6. Serve fish filets on a bed of spinach and quinoa or rice.  Pour at least half a cup of the broth over each filet.  Slice the remaining lime into wedges for serving.