Yellow Curry Poached Cod

Cod poached gently in a vibrantly flavored Thai yellow curry sauce and served over rice. It’s a meal that comes together so effortlessly and the poaching process results in a flaky, melt-in-your-mouth piece of fish.

a plate of yellow curry poached cod over rice with watercress & herbs on top

yellow curry poached cod – the inspiration

A white fish like cod is the perfect blank canvas for a flavorful sauce, one that is balanced and somewhat nuanced in flavor. Poaching the cod directly in the sauce is not only a fairly fool-proof way to cook it, but it also ensures that the fish stays extremely tender and flaky.

A Thai curry is a dish where the main flavoring agent is curry paste. It’s typically saucy, sometimes even soupy, but always consists of a good amount of liquid. The majority of Thai curries are made with coconut milk. It gives a creamy texture, while still being light.

Yellow curry is made with yellow curry paste, and it’s probably the most mild of the curries, so I love it when working with a delicate fish. Its main components are chili peppers and spices, with turmeric giving it a bright yellow color.

a plate of yellow curry poached cod over rice with watercress & herbs on top

The sauce begins by sweating aromatics (shallot, garlic, and ginger) and adding in spices (coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon). These spices only enhance the spices found in the yellow curry paste, which gets added in next.

Traditionally, curry paste is “fried” so that the chilis and spices can bloom. I like to mimic this by allowing the paste to cook for a minute or so in the oil before adding the coconut milk.

You’ll bring the liquid to a simmer, add the cod, cover the pan, and then let it gently poach. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll have a flaky fish, with a silky-smooth, yellow-tinted sauce to spoon over top. Serve it with rice, and you’ve got a very tasty dinner!


Yellow Curry Poached Cod

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cod poached in a yellow curry sauce and served over rice with scallions and cilantro

servings: 4


  • 4 cod filets (approximately 6 ounces each)
  • 1 ⅓ cup jasmine rice
  • 1 ⅔ cups water
  • kosher salt
  • neutral oil, as needed
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry paste
  • 1 (13.5 fl oz) can coconut milk
  • 2 sprigs of cilantro
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 12 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves
  • watercress (optional)


  1. Allow the cod to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes while you prep (mince, measure, etc.) the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Combine the jasmine rice, water, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (a gentle simmer) and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a deep 12” saute pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom. Once hot, add the shallot, garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, and curry paste. Cook for another minute or so.
  4. Whisk the coconut milk into the spice mixture. Add the sprigs of cilantro and a few good cracks of black pepper. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Submerge the filets of cod into the sauce. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Poach the cod at a gentle simmer for about 8 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. Turn the heat off the rice and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  6. Plate the cod over the rice. Add the lime juice and fish sauce to the sauce. Whisk to combine and season more if needed. Spoon the sauce over the cod and rice. Garnish with the scallions, cilantro leaves, watercress (optional), and black pepper.

a plate of yellow curry poached cod over rice with watercress & herbs on top

5 thoughts on “Yellow Curry Poached Cod

  1. Very tasty recipe and does indeed come together so easily! Definitely adding it to my list of favorites from original dish. Please keep posting more!

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