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  • Recipe Room  »  Cambodian-style fish poached in coconut milk



    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
    • 3 cm fresh galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and finely sliced
    • 1 teaspoon finely sliced fresh turmeric or ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 × 400 g can coconut milk
    • 4 kaffifir lime leaves
    • 450 g firm, white-fleshed fish, cut into 2 cm chunks
    • juice of 1 lemon

    Cambodian-style fish poached in coconut milk

    I love this recipe because it is quick and simple to make, yet so exotic in flavour.

    The galangal, turmeric and kaffifir lime leaves add that gorgeous earthy, aromatic flavour so particular to south-east Asian cuisine, and the taste and texture of fish cooked gently in coconut milk is sublime. If you like, you can substitute the fish with any other seafood, or even chicken.


    Place garlic, red onion, galangal, lemon grass, turmeric, paprika, fish sauce and brown sugar in a blender and process until finely blended. Add the coconut milk and process again until thoroughly blended.

    Transfer the coconut mixture to a heavy-based pan. Crush the kaffifir lime leaves in your hand to release their aroma, and add them to the pan. Bring coconut mixture to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, to allow the flavours to infuse and the liquid to reduce slightly.

    Add the fish chunks and poach gently for 4–5 minutes. Stir through lemon juice, then transfer to a large shallow serving bowl and serve immediately.

    Submitted by
    Kylie Kwong

    Tips and Tricks

    • If you’re looking to keep lemons for longer than a week, place them in a thick plastic or zip-lock bag and store in your crisper. Lemons will last up to 4 weeks stored in this way.

    • If you haven’t got time to use up lemons in the kitchen, they also make for a great cleaning supplement in the rest of your house. Rubbing lemons onto aluminium will help brighten surfaces, while mixing 2 tablespoons of lemon with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 litre of water makes for a natural window cleaner.

    • To avoid wasting any leftover coconut milk, freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray. You can then defrost as many cubes as you need for other recipes.

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