Chinese-Style Baked Cod (焗鱈魚)

Transform plain cod into a flavorful gourmet dinner with a few simple Chinese pantry staples and an air fryer (or toaster oven).

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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

Fish is a weeknight dinner staple for a reason. It's quick to cook and when done right, super juicy and flaky. Just like Steamed Salmon, my dad transforms cod into a gourmet entrée with a simple marinade and cooking technique. It's one of our favorite meals and once you try it, we guarantee it'll become a regular part of your dinner rotation, too!

My dad uses a classic Chinese combination of garlic, ginger and scallion to enhance the cod. Garlic salt also adds an umami punch, but doesn't overwhelm cod's delicate flavor and texture. The cod can baked in a traditional oven, but my dad opts for an air fryer or toaster oven for both speed and easy clean up.

An expert Chinese chef's tips for crispy baked cod

The key to the best baked fish is dry fish! Make sure you thoroughly pat the cod dry with paper towels before cooking, especially if the fish was recently defrosted. This removes excess moisture and helps the seasoning penetrate the fish.

Adding oil to the fish before you place it in the oven or air fryer seals in the juices, while a drizzle mid-way through cooking helps it crisp up nicely.

Finally, high heat is also essential to help keep the fish moist, which is why we're air frying the fish at 375° F and baking at 425°F.

What to serve with baked cod

My dad pairs his baked cod with blanched broccoli as a simple garnish and side, but you can serve it with any of our vegetable dishes. Stir-Fried Green Beans, Bok Choy or Choy Sum with Garlic would all be delicious!

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4

Marinade Ingredinets

  • 6 clove garlic
  • 1.5 oz ginger
  • 0.50 oz scallion (

    white parts only

    )
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 0.25 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Main Ingredients

  • 2 pound wild Alaskan Pacific cod (

    boneless, skinless, 5 to 8 ounces per piece

    )
  • 3 teaspoon oil (

    divided

    )
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounce broccoli

Dipping Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 0.50 teaspoon chili sauce (

    optional

    )

Garnish

  • 1 teaspoon oil

On cod

Cod is a delicious white fish that's used in cuisines around the world. Fresh cod is always best, but may not be as easy to find. Frozen cod works for this recipe as long as you pat the fillets dry before cooking. To learn more about sustainable fish options, check out the Sustainable Seafood Watch.

Equipment note

My dad usually cooks this cod in an air fryer or toaster oven to make it the ultimate low-effort meal. Here are similar models:

These links are affiliate links, which means that if you use our links to purchase these ingredients, Amazon pays my family a small amount for the sale - at no extra cost to you. If you use these links, we really appreciate the support!

Peel and mince the garlic (6 clove). Lightly smash the cloves and remove the skin. Chop off the hard root ends. Smash again and finely mince the cloves.

Smash the ginger (1.5 oz), flattening until it's almost a paste. This loosens up the fibers and helps create a fine mince rather than firm chunks. Chop until the ginger is finely minced.

Smash the scallions (0.50 oz), then slice into shorter sections. Line up the pieces and chop until the scallions are as finely minced as the garlic and ginger.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic salt (1 tablespoon), sugar (1 teaspoon), white pepper (0.25 teaspoon), cornstarch (2 teaspoon) and cooking wine (1 teaspoon). Mix to thoroughly combine.

Add the previously minced aromatics and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the light soy sauce (1 tablespoon), dark soy sauce (1 teaspoon), rice vinegar (1 tablespoon), sugar (2 tablespoon), and chili sauce (0.50 teaspoon), if using.

Place the cod fillets (2 pound) on a sheet of paper towel and use it to pat the fish dry. Soak up as much moisture as you can, which will help the seasonings penetrate the fish.

Place the cod in a large bowl. Add the aromatic paste to the fish and use your hands to gently cover the fillets. Make sure each piece is coated evenly.

Add oil (1 tablespoon) to the marinaded cod. This helps remove some of the fishiness.

Air Fryer Method

Lay a piece of aluminum foil in the air fryer basket, leaving some gaps along the sides. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil (3 teaspoon) on top of the foil. This helps reduce sticking.

Place the cod into the foil-lined basket, spacing the fillets out evenly. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to cook the fish in two batches. Top the fish with any extra marinade paste.

Insert the basket into the air fryer and set the temperature to 375°F and time to 12 minutes.

After the fish has been cooking for 6 minutes, remove the basket and drizzle the fish with another 1 teaspoon of oil. Insert the basket back into the air fryer and increase the temperature to 380°F. This will crisp up the top of the cod.

My dad ends up removing the fish after 11 minutes of cooking time. We’re aiming for an internal temperature of somewhere between 130°F to 135° F for firm, flaky, medium doneness, but the USDA recommended temperature is 145°F. Check using a thermometer to ensure an accurate temperature.

Toaster Oven Method

Preheat your toaster oven to 425°F.

Lay a piece of aluminum foil on the toaster oven baking tray. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil (3 teaspoon) on top of the foil. This helps reduce sticking.

Place the cod on the foil-lined tray, spacing the fillets out evenly. Depending on the size of your toaster oven, you may have to cook the fish in two batches. Top the fish with any extra marinade paste.

Once preheated, place the tray on the lower rack and bake for 15 minutes. Move to the higher rack, then cook for another 5 minutes to get the top nice and crispy.

Boil 4 cups of water in a large pot over high heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of the oil and salt. When water comes to a boil, add broccoli (8 ounce) and lower the heat to medium.

After 5 to 6 minutes of simmering, remove the broccoli. You can adjust the cooking time based on your texture preference — this broccoli is pretty soft.

Plate the cooked cod with the broccoli. Drizzle with finishing oil (1 teaspoon).

FAQ

What temperature should baked cod be cooked to?

  • The USDA recommended temperature for cooking fish is 145°F. Insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of the fillet to check the internal temperature. Since the fish continues to cook after it's removed from the oven or air fryer, we usually aim for an internal temperature of somewhere between 130°F to 135°F for firm, flaky, medium doneness.

Why is my cod rubbery and tough?

  • Like most fish, cod becomes rubbery and tough if it's overcooked. That's why it's so important to check the temperature of the fish and pull it out of the oven or air fryer once it hits the correct internal temperature.

Summary

Chinese-Style Baked Cod (焗鱈魚)
Transform plain cod into a flavorful gourmet dinner with a few simple Chinese pantry staples and an air fryer (or toaster oven).
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Marinade Ingredinets

  • 6 clove garlic
  • 1.5 oz ginger
  • 0.50 oz scallion (

    white parts only

    )
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 0.25 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Main Ingredients

  • 2 pound wild Alaskan Pacific cod (

    boneless, skinless, 5 to 8 ounces per piece

    )
  • 3 teaspoon oil (

    divided

    )
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounce broccoli

Dipping Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 0.50 teaspoon chili sauce (

    optional

    )

Garnish

  • 1 teaspoon oil

Step 1 - Prep aromatics

↑ Jump to details

Peel and mince the garlic (6 clove).

Smash the ginger (1.5 oz), flattening until it's almost a paste, then chop until the ginger is finely minced.

Smash the scallions (0.50 oz), then slice into shorter sections. Line up the pieces and chop until the scallions are as finely minced as the garlic and ginger.

Step 2 - Marinate fish

↑ Jump to details

In a small bowl, combine the garlic salt (1 tablespoon), sugar (1 teaspoon), white pepper (0.25 teaspoon), cornstarch (2 teaspoon) and cooking wine (1 teaspoon). Mix to thoroughly combine.

Add the previously minced aromatics and stir to combine.

Step 3 - Make dipping sauce

↑ Jump to details

In a small bowl, combine the light soy sauce (1 tablespoon), dark soy sauce (1 teaspoon), rice vinegar (1 tablespoon), sugar (2 tablespoon), and chili sauce (0.50 teaspoon), if using.

Step 4 - Prep fish

↑ Jump to details

Place the cod fillets (2 pound) on a sheet of paper towel and pat the fish dry.

Place the cod in a large bowl. Add the aromatic paste to the fish and use your hands to coat each piece evenly.

Step 5 - Cook fish

↑ Jump to details

Add oil (1 tablespoon) to the marinaded cod. This helps remove some of the fishiness.

Air Fryer Method

Lay a piece of aluminum foil in the air fryer basket, leaving some gaps along the sides, and drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil (3 teaspoon) on top.

Place the cod into the foil-lined basket, spacing the fillets out evenly. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to cook the fish in two batches. Top the fish with any extra marinade paste.

Insert the basket into the air fryer and set the temperature to 375°F and time to 12 minutes.

After the fish has been cooking for 6 minutes, remove the basket and drizzle the fish with another 1 teaspoon of oil. Insert the basket back into the air fryer and increase the temperature to 380°F.

Remove the fish and check temperature. The USDA recommended internal temperature for cod is 145°F, but we usually aim for 130°F to 135°F for medium doneness.

Toaster Oven Method

Preheat your toaster oven to 425°F.

Lay a piece of aluminum foil on the toaster oven baking tray and drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil (3 teaspoon) on top.

Place the cod on the foil-lined tray, spacing the fillets out evenly. Depending on the size of your toaster oven, you may have to cook the fish in two batches. Top the fish with any extra marinade paste.

Once preheated, place the tray on the lower rack and bake for 15 minutes. Move to the higher rack, then cook for another 5 minutes to get the top nice and crispy.

Step 6 - Blanch broccoli

↑ Jump to details

Boil 4 cups of water in a large pot over high heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of the oil and salt. When water comes to a boil, add broccoli (8 ounce) and lower the heat to medium. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes and remove the broccoli.

Step 7 - Plate cod & broccoli

↑ Jump to details

Plate the cooked cod with the broccoli. Drizzle with finishing oil (1 teaspoon).

Step 8 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 9 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.