Coconut Milk Poached Tuna with Cabbage ‘Noodles’ and Baby Bok Choy

I’ve recently started buying frozen yellowfin tuna steaks and like the convenience of it.  It’s just a matter of defrosting the vacuum packed steaks in the fridge overnight if I remember to do so, or in a container of water in the sink for about 15 – 30 minutes prior to cooking.  The taste and texture beat canned tuna anytime!

I bought a bunch of colourful Nantes/Nantaise carrots as they looked so appealing with the reds, oranges, and yellows and decided to toss them whole into the coconut milk as they were about finger sized and oh so dainty.  The red (or rather purple) carrots gave the coconut milk gravy a very faint hint of colour so if you prefer you can choose to omit them or replace with trimmed orange carrots.  I had originally planned to serve the tuna over cauliflower ‘rice’ but it was raining heavily and I didn’t want to step out to get cauliflower and so decided to make noodles out of some cabbage in the fridge.

The coconut milk thickens up slightly during the cooking process and makes a lovely and creamy gravy with subtle Thai accents from the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.  A pretty quick and fuss-free fish dish (try saying that 5 times in a row, fast!) for weekday dinners.  I’ve not tried it with other fish, but I would think any firm flesh fish would work well.  What’s your favourite fish?

Coconut milk tuna

Ingredients (Serves 3)

  • 400mL (1 can) coconut milk
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, end and tip removed, bruised
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 inch long ginger root, peeled and sliced into strips
  • 15 small colourful Nantes/ Nantaise carrots
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 3 yellowfin tuna steaks (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1tbsp fat/ oil of choice
  • 1/4 large cabbage, cut into long strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 275g/ 0.6lb baby bok choy, stems separated and sliced into half lengthwise
  • 1 tsp smoked or sea salt


Cooking the tuna steaks

  • Preheat oven at 350°F
  • In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and carrots until it begins to boil and remove from heat.  Add sea salt to taste
  • Arrange the tuna steaks on a greased glass baking casserole
  • Pour saucepan contents over the tuna steaks
  • Cover casserole with aluminium foil and bake for 12 minutes or until cooked through

Cooking the cabbage ‘noodles’ and baby bok choy

  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add fat/oil
  • Add cabbage strips and chopped garlic, tossing to coat
  • Once the cabbage wilts, add baby bok choy stems and cook for 2 – 3 minutes
  • Add baby bok choy leaves and stir-fry for another minute
  • Sprinkle smoked/ sea salt, stir to mix and remove from heat

Assembling the dish

  • Remove lemongrass stalk and kaffir lime leaves from the casserole
  • Portion out vegetables on the individual plates and place the tuna steak on the vegetables
  • Top with coconut milk gravy and carrots and serve immediately
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