Cod and lentils are good friends. Our red curry cod with red curry lentils is a satisfying and healthy recipe. Try it when you’re looking for something a little lighter.
We like cooking cod. It’s healthy, easy, and takes well to pretty much every flavor. And adding flavor to cod is necessary since it’s otherwise quite a flavorless fish.
Our newest cod creation involves Thai red curry paste. But it’s not a Thai recipe because it also involves lentils. (We’re pretty sure lentils are not a staple of Thai cooking.) So this cod recipe is a mishmash of spices that we have in our house (a collection that has expanded greatly since our travels).
Unlike many things we cook, this is actually a healthy recipe. So healthy in fact that we had it for lunch yesterday. It would be great for dinner too, served with a side of (also healthy) steamed spinach or green beans.
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The cod we buy is pre-portioned into lovely ~4.5-oz skinless fillets. Nothing else to say about that except the fairly obvious disclaimer that if you want a bigger portion, bump up the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
The cod is marinated in a simple mixture of Thai red curry paste, dark soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and lime juice.
We’ve become dark soy sauce people over the past few years. So that’s what we use in this recipe. If you only have light soy sauce, feel free to use it. But if it’s not the low sodium type, it might be a little saltier.
We eat lentils a lot and enjoy both red and green varieties. Red are best here, and not just because this recipe is called “red curry cod with red curry lentils.” They’re more delicate and break down better. Green lentils would be a bit much – both in terms of flavor and texture.
You might be wondering why we keep talking about red lentils but the lentils in our pictures look yellow. Well that’s thanks to trusty turmeric, one of three dry spices we flavor the lentils with. The other two are cumin and coriander.
In addition to the dry spices, Thai red curry paste is also added to the lentils, giving them even more flavor and marrying them with the cod.
The dashes of fish sauce added to the lentils give an extra hit of umami to the whole dish. Fish sauce on fish… who knew?
This is an easy cod recipe. The biggest tips we have are related to the timing of it all. Because this is a quick one.
To make the red curry cod, mix together all the marinade ingredients except the lime juice, and put it on the fish. It’s a thick marinade, so you may have to use your hands to make sure the fish fillets are completely covered.
Put the fish in the fridge for 30 minutes. During this time, you should rinse your lentils and cut your onion.
Baking fish on top of veg helps it not get soggy. In this recipe, we use a regular old yellow onion as it adds sweetness and texture. The onion is tossed with a little oil and salt and roasted prior to baking the fish.
After the 30 minutes are up, add the lime juice and return the fish to the
depths of the sea fridge for another 15 minutes. We’ve found cod gets tough if it marinates in acid for more than 15 minutes.
When you put the fish back in the fridge, put the onions in a 400°F oven.
After that 15 minutes is up, it’s time to cook the fish and the lentils. Cooking time for both is another 15 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 375°F. Give the onions a little toss and then lay the cod on top. You want all of the onions to be under the fish, so tuck in any stragglers.
At the same time, put the lentils in a small pot and cover with water by ~1/4 inch. Add ginger, all the spices, salt, and pepper. Cook the lentils uncovered over medium heat.
Halfway through cooking the lentils (they should be bubbling nicely), stir in the red curry paste and fish sauce and turn the heat down to low. From here on out, you should keep an eye on them, stirring every couple minutes to make sure they don’t stick. The lentils are done when all the liquid is absorbed, but they’re still wet.
You don’t have to monitor the fish so closely. It will be fine in there. Just take it out when 15 minutes are up.
Serve the fish atop the lentils, the onions atop the fish, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro atop everything.
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp Thai red curry paste
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- Two 4 1/2-oz cod fillets
- 1/4 tsp lime juice
- 1 small onion, sliced lengthwise
- 1/4 tsp flavorless cooking oil
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup red split lentils, washed and drained
- 1 small nub of ginger (~1/2 tsp)
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/8 tsp cumin powder
- 1/8 tsp coriander powder
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp Thai red curry paste
- 2 dashes fish sauce
- Fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Mix soy sauce, red curry paste, sesame oil, and sugar in a small bowl. Marinate cod in this mixture for 30 minutes.
- Add lime juice to the fish and put back in the fridge. Put the onions in a small baking dish and toss with oil and salt.
- Let the fish finish marinating while the onions cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove onions from oven and turn heat down to 375°F. Toss the onions and then lay the cod on top. You want all of the onions to be under the fish as much as possible.
- Put the fish in the oven.
- Put lentils in a small pot and cover with water by ~1/4 inch. Add ginger, all spices, salt, and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat.
- Cooking time for both the cod and the lentils is 15 minutes each.
- Halfway through cooking the lentils (they should be bubbling nicely), stir in the red curry paste and fish sauce and turn the heat down to low. From here on out, you should keep an eye on them, stirring every couple minutes to make sure they don't stick.
- The lentils are done when all the liquid is absorbed, but they're still wet.
- Serve the fish atop the lentils, the onions atop the fish, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro atop everything.
- We cook the lentils over our smallest burner since halfway through cooking them it's necessary to turn the heat down very low.
- Don't forget to remove the ginger from the lentils before digging in.