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Tilapia recipes?

I have never cooked tilapia, but I bought some from Trader Joe's today to make for dinner. I wanted to make a simple dish to serve with couscous. I bought Thai yellow curry sauce to cook with it and I could top it with shredded coconut or raisins and maybe some red chili flakes for a kick...but since I am not very familiar with the fish I am not sure if that will taste good? I also thought about making a piccata sauce to pour over the fish and adding some grapes or yellow raisins to sweeten it up. I would like to use the ingredients that I have (lemon, raisins, italian bread crumbs, lime, oranges, white wine, capers, red grapes, dill, olive oil, butter, red chili flakes, etc.) I would really appreciate any good recipes or ideas! Thank you!

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  1. Tilapia basically takes on whatever flavors you choose to cook it with, so anything you make as a sauce, or if you bread it will actually make it better. Tilapia on it's own is rather boring.

    Last time I made it I mixed flour and a cayenne pepper rub and served it with tartar sauce and some lemon. It was almost like a blackened catfish type dish.

    1. Since Tilapia is rather mild, I don't use anything too overpowering. I rinse the fish and pat dry. Dredge in flour, slightly salted, saute in butter. Remove fish when cooked. Keep warm. In pan, toss in fresh shredded ginger, fresh lime juice, and reduce with white wine. This is roughly my recipe. I just throw it together. Your technique may be more preceise.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kate is always hungry

        I actually take the opposite approach... since tilapia is so mild I find it requires strong flavors to be good.

        Like you I lightly dredge the fillets and pan-fry until crisp. Then I remove the fish and saute chopped scallions, garlic, and fresh cayennes in the same pan. Add soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and a bit of rice wine vinegar. Heat sauce gently until it comes together, then thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry. Mix in chopped cilantro just before the sauce comes off the stove. Serve fish on rice with pan sauce poured over the top. If you have leftover sauce but no more fish, it goes great with plain rice!

      2. Thanks for the great ideas! How long does it cook for (in the oven or sauteed in the pan with butter)?

        1 Reply
        1. re: gourmetgal1

          Treat it like sole or flounder - a short cooking time. My default tilapia dish is to put cooked rice or couscous, or store-bought seafood stuffing, in a pan, then laying the fillets over it. I stir teriyaki sauce or any other soy-based marinade into a mixture of julienned raw vegetables (peppers, zucchini, onion, carrot, whatever's on hand) or frozen mixed vegetables, then put that over the fish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If I were baking the fish without the bottom layer, I'd do only 20 minutes.

        2. I make Tilapia the way I remember from my trip to Israel - garlic powder, parsley, paprika, cumin and chili powder then grill and serve with a salad.

          1. You can cook it "en papillote." Make a pouch with some parchment, add the tilapia, some lemon juice, white wine, capers, a little olive oil.. and some other veggies that you like and that steam well. Seal it up and cook for 15 minutes at 400.

            It's a pretty versatile recipe..have fun with it

            1. I generally cook tilapia the same way as I would any mild, flaky white fish (sole, flounder, catfish, etc). Often times, I will do a Picatta (lemon, capers, butter/oil, wine, parsley, etc). Pan-fried over med-high heat until golden brown, they probably take about 4 minutes per side but I do it by sight (golden brown).

              1. Tilapia "cioppino"

                Fillet tilpia, cut into chunks and put aside. Simmer heads and bones for 25 minutes for stock; strain. Sautee thinly sliced onion, add diced garlic & ginger, toss in chile powder and tomato paste When all is integrated, add stock plus diced tomatoes and carrots and chopped cilantro; let simmer for 40 minutes. Add fish and bring back to temp. Serve with fresh cut chives on top.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Last week, I made what the kids called "Tilapia Fingers" in the deep fryer. I cut the tilapia into strips, rolled them in a mixture of corn meal, lemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt and fried them until they were golden. The fish held together extremely well and could be eaten like a chicken finger with no utensils. A fun and easy dish to make.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Forgot--toss in 1/2 cup of lime juice.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Sam. we don't get whole, wild tilapia here int the States. We get crappy farmed fillets that have no taste and are an environmental disaster.

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Yep. I won't touch the stuff with a 37 foot pole.

                    2. This one of the fish I will use in stir fry with bitter melon (or any vegetable) in a black bean sauce. Also I have use it as part of a seafood congee along with shrimp and baby scallops.

                      Very mild fish. As already stated it will pick up the flavor of what it is cooked with.

                      Tried it in a Chinese Raw Fish Salad but found it too soft.

                      You can steam the fillets with soy sauce, cooked oil, sesame oil topped with green onion and ginger.

                      1. just did tilapia marinated in chermoula (basically pesto w. cilantro instead of basil, hold the pine nuts) and then roasted over a bed (think au gratin) of thinly sliced tomato and potato) and, all that served over couscous. I can give a more detailed recipe but ya, you could freestyle it easily. the raisins would go nice in the couscous, and slices of orange on top of the tilapia could be nice when roasting as well (about 12 minutes in the oven).

                        1. It's good batter-dipped & deep-fried. Split the thin side from the thick side for differing cooking times. It's a very mild fish, so I use a thin batter. I like either a panko or corn meal based batter.

                          1. I stumbled upon this one a while ago when first trying to figure out how to cook tilapia - it's absolutely delicious - pretty cheesy so goes nicely with simple red potatoes and a salad or something along those lines. If you are up for cheese, definitely make this recipe http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Broiled-...

                              1. I do tilapia piccata. It's good that way.

                                Another way it's great: in a large skillet, soften onions in butter and EVOO; season filets with salt and pepper, and lay on top of the onions. Cook until done, turning at the halfway point.

                                1. If you want it really spicy, try this:

                                  Tilapia for Two

                                  2 whole gutted fresh tilapia
                                  sea salt to taste
                                  1 large white onion
                                  2 habanero chiles
                                  1/2 cup white vinegar
                                  sugar to taste

                                  While you heat 1/4 cup oil in a heavy frying pan over high heat, score the tilapia and dredge in flour mixed with sea salt to taste.

                                  Just before the oil smokes, put the tilapia in the skillet. Fry on each side until the fish are golden brown. Remove the fish from the oil and drain on paper toweling.

                                  Thinly slice the onion. Seed and thinly slice the habaneros--be careful not to burn yourself with the chile.

                                  In the same oil, saute the onion and habanero slices until limp.

                                  Put the fish back in the pan. Pour in the vinegar and add sugar to taste. Turn the fire up high and cover the pan. Allow the fish and veggies to 'sweat' for two minutes.

                                  Serve with white rice and a vegetable.

                                  This is hotter than hell but tastes like heaven.

                                  Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                                  1. That's really weird because I just bought some tilapia to make with couscous for my husband tonight for Lent. I am going to serve it with artichoke hearts. I am thinking I will make a dill sauce to go with it, too. I also have some lemons and capers in the fridge so I'll see what I can do to make it good.

                                    1. I make blackened tilapia tacos that, if I do say so myself, are absolutely outta sight. The Khantessa almost swooned out at first bite.

                                      1. Tilapia is one of my default weeknight dinners when I'm feeling lazy. I purchase frozen filets and pan fry without thawing. Since I prefer a crispy coating, I'll use something to wet the surface (frozen fish = not so 'sticky') like plain yogurt, milk, an egg, or even some mayo; then pat some cornmeal onto the fish before frying. I'll usually serve this with some extra mayo on the side mixed with some olive oil and whatever else is lurking around in my fridge or pantry (chopped capers, leftover herbs, etc.).