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Instant Pot Mala-Braised Cod

By Kim Pham

15 min
serves 2


  • Instant Pot


  • 1 Chinese Mala Salad Starter
  • ~1 lb. of cod, about 1½-inch thick, in 3 pieces
  • 1⁄4 onion, sliced
  • 4 oz. baby bok choy, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • ½ inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2” lengths
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 3⁄4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1⁄2 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 Omsom Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ starter
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen package of pre-cut cauliflower florets, or 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1-2 inch florets
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. neutral cooking oil

Serve with:

A bowl of hot steamed white rice or noodles. Don’t forget to drizzle some of the broth on your rice for more flavor!


Let’s get cooking: 

  1. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add oil. Once hot, sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add onions, jalapeno (optional), bok choy, scallions, and the Chinese Mala Salad starter. Sauté until veggies soften, about 2 minutes.
  3. Press “CANCEL” to turn off Sauté mode and add the broth, 1⁄2 tsp. salt, and fish sauce.
  4. Place cod on top of veggies. Baste cod with broth.
  5. Close lid, turn steam vent to SEAL and pressure cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes. (Pro tip: Pressure time can vary depending on the thickness of the cod. If your cod is thinner than 1” thick, it will take less time to cook. Well-cooked fish should read 140 degrees F.)
  6. Once pressure cooking is done, turn steam vent to VENT for a quick release.
  7. Salt to taste. Place fish, veggies, and broth in a serving bowl.
  8. Preheat the Instant Air Fryer at 350° F on the air fry setting. In a bowl, toss cauliflower with oil and salt, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated.
  9. Cook cauliflower in Air Fryer for 3 minutes, until golden and almost cooked through. Turn cauliflower and brush Omsom starter on cauliflower to coat, then cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until fork tender, aromatic, and lightly crisped.
  10. Remove cauliflower from Instant Air Fryer and enjoy!
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