Thai Coconut Fish

Coconut Fish with sliced lime

D. Schmidt

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 31 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Yield: 2 to 3 fish fillets
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
574 Calories
33g Fat
18g Carbs
55g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 574
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 16g 78%
Cholesterol 136mg 45%
Sodium 1380mg 60%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 55g
Vitamin C 55mg 277%
Calcium 84mg 6%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 1598mg 34%
*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.)

If you are a fish fan, you will love this Thai coconut fish. It features tropical, spicy, and tangy flavors of coconut, chili, and lime. This dish requires a little extra time for prep, but the actual cooking is very fast and easy.

Any type of white-fleshed fish fillet or steak may be used, including basa, tilapia, snapper, cod, and sole; the best sea-friendly choices are basa and tilapia. The main feature of this dish is the topping, which is authentic Thai at its best. Pair this with Thai jasmine rice and a glass of chilled white wine for a gourmet meal you will love to serve.


  • 2 to 3 white-flesh 8 ounce fish fillets, such as halibut, snapper, cod, tilapia

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • Fresh coriander, or basil, for garnish

  • Lime wedges, for garnish

For the marinade

  • 6 tablespoons coconut milk

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chile

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

For the topping

  • 1/2 cup dry shredded coconut, unsweetened

  • 1 fresh red chile pepper, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chile; adjust to taste or omit for milder fish

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 green onion, chopped fine

  • 1 teaspoon grated galangal, or ginger

  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place fish in a flat dish. Stir marinade ingredients together (coconut milk, fish sauce, 1/2 teaspoon dried chile, coriander) and pour over fish. Turn fillets in the marinade several times, then leave in the refrigerator to marinate while you prepare other ingredients.

  3. Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until coconut turns light golden-brown. Tip 3/4 of coconut into a small mixing bowl. Place remaining coconut in another bowl for serving later.

  4. Add fresh red chile, garlic, spring onion, ginger, lime zest, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce to the bowl of toasted coconut. Gently toss to mix everything together. Taste-test the mixture for salt and spice, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough or more chile if you prefer it spicier. Set aside.

  5. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl around, then gently place fish in the pan. Let fish fry at least 1 minute before turning or moving. Fry 1 to 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Fish is done when the flesh turns firm and opaque and flakes easily.

  6. Place fried fillets on individual plates. Top with a layer of the coconut-chili-lime mixture, then add another layer of the reserved toasted coconut. Sprinkle over some fresh coriander or basil and garnish with a lime wedge (squeeze over before eating). Serve with rice.

  7. Enjoy.