Poached Tilapia in Creamy Coconut-Leek Reduction


I am so excited to share this recipe, because not only is it incredibly flavorful and healthy, it is also simple and takes 20 minutes to make. My roommate bought some fish for us at the market last Sunday, but since he didn’t have time to cook it, he entrusted me with that task. I guess having a food blog will do that. All of a sudden it’s “hey, plus this can be a post for your blog right?”. However, I was more than happy to give it a go since I have a rather poor repertoire in the fish and seafood section. He told me, “make it simple: a light pan-fried fish with some olive oil would be great”. I agreed. But then…

… but then, I remembered that I have a slightly obsessive mind when it comes to cooking, and telling me to keep it simple when I had leeks and coconut milk in the fridge was delusional.  Recipe ideas started to come to mind, I tried to shoo them away, after all we had agreed on keeping things simple, but they kept piling up in my head. By the end of the day, the simple pan-fried fish idea was long gone and I was coming home with a bottle of dry white wine, some leeks, coconut milk, and trying to mind-measure ingredients in my head to come up with a recipe (you know, that moment when you try to mentally picture how many cups and tablespoons of this and that ingredient you will use? No, nobody? Just me?).

This recipe perfectly nails the combination of flavors and ingredients, it is so simple to make (ready in under 20 minutes) and the final result is impressive and classy. Just imagine that moment when you close your mouth on a forkful of tender fish meat with creamy leeks, all the while your senses being tickled by a subtle whiff of garlic, spices, milky coconut and pungent white wine. S-c-ru-m-p-t-i-o-u-s revelation in the fish cooking section. If there is one recipe you should be trying, it’s this one, without a doubt – might I add that this is perfectly adapted to beginners who have little cooking experience!

Poached Tilapia in Creamy Coconut-Leek Reduction

Makes 4 servings


4 filets of Tilapia (about 600g), though any other white fish will do (Merlu, Halibut, Cod, Hake, etc.)

3 leeks, ends removed

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1/2 cup (200mL) of coconut milk

1/4 cup of vegetable broth

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon of dijon mustard (à l’ancienne, if possible)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

Salt and pepper



1. In a medium skillet on low-medium heat, sear the fish fillets in 1 tablespoons of olive oil for 2 minutes on each side, to golden. Add a pinch of salt, then remove carefully from the pan with a spatula and set aside.

2. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil on low heat. Slice the leeks crosswise add to the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and stir occasionally. Let cook for 6-7 minutes until the leeks or soft and being to caramelize very lightly.


3. In a food processor, mix together the garlic, the vegetable broth, the coconut milk, the dijon mustard, with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Pour the mixture into the pan with the leeks and let simmer on low heat for 3 minutes.

4. Add the white wine, turn up the heat to medium and let reduce by 1/3rd, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to not let it burn.


5. Add the fish filets into the pan and poach in the coconut-leek sauce for 5 minutes, covered.

6. Remove the fish delicately from the pan with a spatula, top with leeks and coconut sauce and serve with fresh parsley, lemon wedges and a crispy arugula salad.


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