Recipe: Coconut Poached Gurnard

A recipe from ‘Porthminster Beach Cafe – The Cookbook’ to tantalise your taste buds this weekend.

Executive Chef Mick Smith recently produced this dish in front of an appreciative crowd at Truro Food Festival – it went down so well we thought we should share the recipe! It’s from Porthminster Beach Cafe – The Cook Book, and is one of our all-time favourite dishes here at the Cafe.

Recipe: Coconut Poached Gurnard

Gurnard can be a bit of a fiddly fish to work with, but it’s very pretty, highly sustainable and they catch a lot of it in Cornwall. You could use red mullet if you can’t get hold of gurnard.

Serves 4


– 4 gurnards, filleted

– 4 cans of coconut cream

– Juice of a lime

– 4 kaffir lime leaves

– 4 star anise

– 2 long peppers

– 2 tbsp fish sauce

– 2 tbsp palm sugar

– 1 tbsp grated ginger

– 2 red chillies, finely sliced

– 2 garlic cloves, smashed

– 2 lemon grass sticks, smashed

To Serve

– 250g of Jasmine rice

– 2 tsp ground long or black pepper

– 1 tsp black sesame seeds

– Mixed leaves served with Thai salad dressing (see book for our own recipe)

– toasted coconut shavings

– lime wedges


Combine all the poaching ingredients and bring to the boil. Strain into another pan, submerge the gurnard fillets in the poaching mix, cover and poach on a very low heat for 10 minutes until cooked.
Cover the jasmine rice with twice as much boiling water and rapidly boil for 10 minutes before straining. Grind the long (or black) pepper and the black sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar and stir through the cooked rice.
Serve with wedges of lime, Thai-dressed salad and toasted coconut shavings.