Vietnamese Tilapia with Turmeric and Dill

Vietnamese Tilapia with   Turmeric and Dill

Vietnamese Tilapia with
Turmeric and Dill

Tilapia is one of the most consumed fish species in the U.S.  It has become one of our favorites, and I cook it frequently.  Turns out tilapia has a lot going for it.   It’s pretty inexpensive, especially if purchased in quantity (like 2 pounds or more), as filets that are individually flash frozen and vacuum sealed.  I like that I can remove just the quantity I need for a specific recipe.

Sustainably farmed versions are easy to find, an important consideration, since so many wild fish species are threatened around the world.  Flavor-wise, tilapia has a very mild, white, flaky flesh that, I think, is a virtue.   It’s a great starter fish for kids or anyone who thinks that all seafood is too “fishy”.  Cooks can take advantage of its neutral flavor by using it as a base for many flavor approaches, ranging anywhere from South American, to Mediterranean to Southeast Asian.


Tilapia is a lean, low-calorie source of protein that’s low in saturated fat, so it’s a good choice for healthy eating.  Although it’s not an omega-3  powerhouse like salmon,  a 3-ounce portion of cooked tilapia still has 10% of your daily omega-3 needs.

This mild white fish holds up well to sautéing, breading, steaming, or whatever you can think to do with it.  It won’t fall apart on you in the pan.   It is one of the easiest, most versatile fish to cook with and it can stand whatever heat your kitchen can dish out!

If you have never cooked with tilapia this recipe will introduce you in a big way;  the fish loves flavor and color.   A killer marinade of shallots, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, garlic and turmeric penetrates the fish and gives it a beautiful golden color. When you sear the fish in a hot-hot pan (cast iron is best) it gets fantastically browned.   This was a new way to prepare it for me and one that I won’t forget.  We loved the Southeast Asian flavors.  Serve it with rice and a green vegetable for an unforgettable meal.

An unforgettable meal.

An unforgettable meal.


Yield:   Serves 4


Southeast Asian seasonings provide big flavor.

Southeast Asian seasonings provide big flavor.

  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  (6-ounce) tilapia fillets,
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • cooking spray
  • 4 cups vertically sliced sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh dill, divided (In the absence of fresh dill, I used dry in small amounts)
  • 4 green onions, cut into (2-inch) pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, dry-toasted peanuts, crushed ( I omitted these.)
  • lemon wedges, for serving


1.  Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk to combine well.  Add fish; toss to coat.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Turmeric gives it a golden color.

Turmeric gives it a golden color.

Marinate fish in the mixture.

Marinate fish in the mixture.

2.  Remove fish from marinade; discard marinade and solids.  Combine fish and peanut oil in a bowl, tossing to coat.

Remove from marinade and coat with oil.

Remove from marinade and coat with peanut oil.

3.  Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion, 1/4 cup dill, and green onions;  stir fry 1 minute.

Stir frying the onions and green onions.

Stir frying the onions, green onions and dill.

Arrange onion mixture on a platter.

Arrange onion mixture on a platter.   Smells wonderful!

Arrange onion mixture on a platter. Smells wonderful!

Return pan to high heat.  Add the fish fillets to pan; cook 3 minutes.  Turn fish over; cook 1 minute or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Place fish on the platter over the onion mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining dill and peanuts.  Serve with lemon wedges.


Arrange fish fillets over onions and serve.


SOURCE:    Cooking Light



Oven-Fried Tilapia with Warm Spinach Salad

Oven Fried Tilapia

Oven Fried Tilapia

Fish of some sort is on the menu at least once a week around here, sometimes more often than that.  During the Lenten period especially, fish and seafood is attractively priced at the supermarket, so that is another reason why we have it more often.  One fish that we particularly like and is very easy to cook is tilapia.  It is mild flavored and can be enhanced by a variety of sauces or cooking methods.

This recipe is called oven fried, although there is no frying involved.  I think the meaning is that it will appear to be fried and have a nice crisp, crusty coating on it.  This is achieved by using panko crumbs and toasting them before dredging the tilapia with the seasoned crumbs.  The fish is tender and flaky inside the crust.

I usually serve this fish with rice or noodles and a salad. This time, however, I served it with my potato-fennel hash and a warm spinach salad that I think goes very well with this dish.  Nutritionally speaking this is a very low fat, potentially low carbohydrate (depending what you serve with it), and low calorie meal.

Potato-fennel hash.

Potato-fennel hash.

Warm Spinach Salad

Warm Spinach Salad


Yield:   4 servings


  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray
  • lemon wedges for serving


1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

2.  Place panko and next four ingredients (through pepper) in a large skillet;  cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently.

3.  Place panko mixture in a shallow dish.   Combine 2 Tbsp. water and egg in a shallow dish.  Place flour in another shallow dish.

4.  Season fish fillets by sprinkling with the salt.  Dredge fish in flour; dip in egg mixture, then place fish in panko mixture, turning to coat.

5.  Arrange in the prepared baking dish.  Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes or until it flakes easily and is done.  Serve with lemon wedges.


  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Place the spinach leaves in a large bowl.

2.  Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and swirl to coat.  Add the minced garlic and grape tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly . Add the cider vinegar, honey, black pepper and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

3.  Pour vinegar mixture over spinach and toss to coat.  Serve while warm.



SOURCE:    Cook Yourself  Thin




Spicy Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Mango Salsa

One day last week I was confronted with this situation–which happens rather frequently around here.  Mr. D. needed to work late, then go directly to a meeting before coming home for dinner.  Meanwhile, I needed to have my dinner on the early side, then go to a dance class in the evening.  My dilemma?  How to provide each of us with a nutritious meal which could be eaten at two separate times.  Are you familiar with this scenario?   I’d love to hear from you about the kinds of meals you serve when this happens.

My solution on this particular day was to make a tasty salsa that could be served with spice-rubbed tilapia, quickly cooked as needed; and served in a toasted corn tortilla.  I also prepared a tossed green salad to round out the meal, dressing to be added when eaten.

Here’s how it went together:


  • 1 cup diced peeled avocado
  • 2/3 cup diced peeled ripe mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together all the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl, and set aside for flavors to meld.  This is a delicious salsa that I make often in warm weather.  I love salsas made from fresh ingredients, don’t you?


  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced fine
  • 1 pound fish fillets  (we are partial to tilapia)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 Corn tortillas  (6-inch)
Combine the first 5 ingredients ( thru garlic ).  Rub well over both sides of fish fillets.  These can be prepared in advance up to this point.  Refrigerate, and have ready for cooking as needed.
Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetable oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add fish;  cook 2-3 minutes per side, depending on thickness of fillets.  Remove to a platter and keep warm.
Warm corn tortillas in hot skillet, about a minute per side to warm and soften.