Broiled Haddock in Thai Coconut Sauce

Well, kids, have you heard the latest about coconut? It's no longer a bad oil. Despite all the saturated fat, it's a health food this week. Sales are going through the roof. According to several dubious web sites, coconut milk is an "all natural isotonic beverage" that "cures the body of internal and external ailments," "promotes weight loss" and, of course, the ever popular "Boosts your immune system." Wow! Amazing! After reading all these wonderful yet totally unsubstantiated and unscientific claims, maybe I should bathe in it.  Or at least wash my hair with it.

Therefore, Dear Reader, fear not the coconut, for it is your friend. So to honor the Cocos Nucifera, try this relatively easy recipe. I would have labeled it "easy," but there are, according to a devout non-cooking friend, too many ingredients, and it's not one of those recipes where you can just dump everything together and let it cook itself.

The recipe is based on Skinny Taste's adaption of a Cooking Light recipe.  The original called for all sesame oil.  Sesame oil has a low smoke point, so I prefer to mix it with another oil with a higher smoke point to not risk something diverting my attention and having the whole house filled with smoke, even with the overhead vent going full blast.

I substituted in Sambal Oelek, a chili paste used in a few other recipes such as Veggies in Spicy Hoisin Sauce.  Sambal Oelek has a bit of a kick, so if you're the type where green pepper even has you seeing red, reduce the amount to 1/2 teaspoon.  A little will give you flavor without the heat.

I used the original quantity of coconut milk, but there was a ton of sauce leftover, so the quantity listed below is reduced to where it should be for the amount of fish served.

I refrained from using the obvious Marx Brothers joke referencing haddock. I'm so proud.

Psst ... changed my mind ... click arrow to view (haddock reference at about 0:54):

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 4

1/2 tsp dark sesame oil, divided
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. chopped garlic (bottled ok)
1/2 red bell pepper (use the leftover half from yesterday's meatloaf)
2-3 scallions
1 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbl.. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbl. brown sugar
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2-3 large haddock fillets (about 1 pound)
1 Tbl. butter, divided
Cooked rice, enough for your family
4 lime wedges, garnish (optional)

Preheat broiler. Finely chop red bell pepper:  first cut pepper into thin strips.

Then slice through the strips.

As for the scallions, I prefer to cut them with scissors.

Heat sesame and olive oils in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; stir for 30 seconds.  Lower heat if garlic starts to brown.  Which is what I had to do.

Add pepper and scallions; stir for 1 minute.

Add curry powder, Sambal Oelek and cumin; stir for 1 minute to bring out their flavor and aromas, and to continue softening the pepper.

Amazing the difference after only a couple of minutes.

Add soy sauce, sugar and coconut milk.  After admiring the swirls, stir to completely mix; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

I had told the fish guy that I wanted 2 large fillets.  I should have paid more attention.  Lightly grease rimmed baking pan with a little of the butter. Place fish on pan in a single layer.  Brush fish with remaining butter.

Broil on top rack 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Check after 4 minutes; if fish is browning too fast, move pan to lower rack.

Plate fish.  Top with sauce.  Serve rice and another veggie of your choice (if desired) alongside.  Garnish with lime wedge.


  1. Love those pics of colorful veggies! Since coconut is healthy, I'm going to get an Almond Joy! (Some time you feel like a nut...)

  2. Hi Dena,

    I just ate something similar in a vegan place here in L.A. Obviously no fish but sauce was over potatoes and veggies. Can't wait to try it at home.


  3. This looks absolutely wonderful. I'm not a Marx brother fan, but had fun watching that short blurb. Thanks!


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