Tilapia in spices

We have been trying to make fish a regular ingredient in our food, primarily due to it’s health-related benefits like rich protein, Omega-3 etc. So far, I have tried tilapia, catfish and salmon. (Those who don’t know about these fishes, please don’t ask for translation as I don’t know). For the first 2 years in US, I din’t have any courage to try any fish here. Whenever we tried any fish dishes in restaurants here, we didn’t get to like them. Coming from coastal India, where we always get very fresh fish, it was a bit of let down.

But finally I took that one step of trying a catfish. We liked it, so next time, we tried salmon. For the first few of times, we really loved it. But it is a very smelly fish, so we don’t like it in any Konkani dishes. Then one fine day, someone told V about tilapia. It does not have any smell at all. After we tried it once, now we are hooked to it. I use it for all Konkani fish curries and it comes pretty good.

This is something I cooked over the weekend. I had one fillet of tilapia left. It was a last minute fix, got ready in 15mins flat. I loved it :).

1/4 lb tilapia
1 tbl spn coriander seeds
1 tea spn cumin seeds
2 tea spns chilli powder
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn chopped ginger
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract
10-12 curry leaves

Roast cumin seeds and coriander seeds.
Make a paste of ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, tamarind, turmeric, chilli powder, salt with very little water.
Heat a little oil and fry the paste till the raw smell goes off. Now add 1/4 cup water, and add tilapia (cut into 2×2 inch pieces). Add the curry leaves cut into two. Cover and cook till done.

Serves : 1-2
Preparation time : 15mins

39 thoughts on “Tilapia in spices”

  1. Hi Shilpa,
    Nice looking dish… looks so tempting..
    you can try sea bass,Pickrel (this is like isonu) and smelt in konkani dishes. They all go well with our dishes. Thanks for sharing wonderful dish.

    Shilpa: Thanks Gowri, I will see if I can find these fishes. I think I have seen sea bass somewhere, but the other two are totally new to me.

  2. This looks so much like the Chicken Ghee Roast with curry leaves. I must try way as i get all the three types of fishes. I like to cook catfish and tilapia as compared to Salmon. I used to face the same problem as to which fish should be purchased. Finally zeroed to these three.

    Shilpa: Yes Aruna, it was a mix of ghee roast and the Kerala fish pickle(also on the site).

  3. Hi,

    For smelly fish you could try frying them first and then using them in the curry. For most of the Bengali fish curries, we first lightly fry the fish (with salt+turmeric powder) and then put them into the gravy, when it starts to boil. For some dishes we fry the fish a bit more crisply.

    And thanks for the wonderful recipes, I keep coming back here all the time. πŸ™‚

  4. Looks mouthwatering. Although I am a vegetarian I can help my hubby in making the masala for this. Till now we have only brought Salmon at home. We made your Chicken Ghee Roast the other day and hubby said it tasted very nice. Thanks a lot Shilpa.

  5. Dish looks super tasty. I too don’t like sea fishes that we get here, some smell bad, I try fillet with konkani recipes n it goes well. Shall try if i get this fish here n make same way as urs..tks 4 sharing!

  6. Looks like a quick yummy recipe. I am from bengal & do miss the fresh fish taste here. Have tried only 3 like you:-). But sometimes do get Rohu frozen, from desi stores whereever available. We have fish pretty often, esp. for the kids- they love it too.

  7. hi shilpa, nice to see fish is you new favorite!! you are correct,the Us fish cannot beat the variety you find in India. However here are a few tips, flounder/tilpia are white fishes with minimal fish flavor,go well with curries,fish fry etc. Haddock too is another fish you can try. Catfish of,course goes well in human/curry. now salmon is a tricky one, but if you flavor up salmon with a marinade ex tandoori paste or teriyaki marinade and pan cook or oven bake/broil it,it makes up for the flavor. Salmon is the most healthiest of the fish.
    I have a few fish recipes on my website if you wanna try.
    Good luck enjoying fish. I looooovee fish!

  8. Hi Shilpa,

    For konkani dishes you can try Basa Fillets, Tilapia, Sea smelts, Cat fish and Rainbow trout… They come out really good..

  9. Looks really yummy Shilpa..I rely on Tilapia mostly too.Smelts(small like belanji) and trout( a little scaly) is also good once in a while. I know, nothing like the fresh fish back home.

  10. Yes, salmon is oily and strong-flavoured. I do like it though. You would probably like cod (my favorite fish) or the very-delicate orange roughy….try, try…I know you’ll like them both as they are both delicate-flavoured.

    I’ve been trying to eat more fish too because of the same reasons, so if you say this is a delicious dish, then I’ll give this one a try too! πŸ˜‰

  11. Oh! I just read Maya’s comment above… trout is good too, but haven’t had it in years. But smelt is very popular around here where I live as it is caught locally and is very fresh; this tiny fish we usually coat with a light batter and deep-fry until very dry and crispy, and then we serve it with various dipping-sauces.

  12. Hi Shilpa,

    My god how do you manage to take such mouth watering photos. the dish looks real yummy . but unfortunately i cant cook non-veg in my house πŸ™ Anyway wonderful to see these tempting pictures . you have really kindled my interest in cooking. Thank you so much


  13. Hi Shilpa,

    Good recipe, I will try it soon. In addition to Tilapia, also try Orange Roughy, red snapper, and Sole. These have nice taste of their own. Sole is much milder than the two but equally lovely.

    Thanks for all your hard work on this site. I visit it everyday.

  14. Hi Shilpa, I love this recipe… Gotta try it soon! We use trout in fish curries a lot. It is the same family as salmon, but it takes our masalas better I think. Bass works well too. BTW, do you get pre-packaged tilapia filets or fresh tilapia? I used to buy tilapia filets long time ago, those are fine, but once we started buying fresh tilapia there was no going back. It works great it whole fish preparations.

    Shilpa: I had used pre-packaged first, but after a while I started using the fresh ones from whole foods. Yes, fresh ones are too good compared to pre packaged ones

  15. Try kingfish (available at chinese markets).It is actually surmai. Salmon is ravas, but since it comes from cold waters of Alaska, is pink in color.

  16. Hi Shilpa,
    I tried out this dish and it tasted delicious alongwith rice and dalithoy..
    A dry dish variety against regular gravy dishes with fish..
    Thru this post, got different fish suggestions which i can try out..
    Thanks a lot..

  17. Hello Shilpa!

    I am addicted to your website now.. I tried this dish last night. It came out awesome.. My husband loved it. Thanks for posting the details.. I appreciate your work.
    Next, I am going to try the chicken chettinad thingie.. πŸ™‚

  18. Thanks for sharing a recipe with Tilapia. I am in the US currently and don’t get fishes like bangda pomfret surmai. Thanks a ton..will try this out .Do share other recipes with salmon, cat fish .


  19. Hi Shilpa,

    Second day in a row, i am trying out your recipes. And i love it. I made this one just too spicy…i had forgotten that the chilli powder i had was from india, loaded spicy:)

    But it is super easy to make it and it tastes delicious. I am going to try it out on non-indian guests next week:)
    Interestingly i tried this with cod. I just had one fillet lying around…didnt know what to do with it…. it tastes good with it. I will try it out with Halibut next time around.

    Thanks for posting!

  20. Shilpa,

    i tried this dish and it is mouth watering, very healthy and delicious, you find very less dishes like these which is a win win in all aspects.
    Thank you so much for all the recipes.
    All your recipes are simple and very tasty.

  21. You should try Red snapper they usually have them at Chinese stores or you can get them at whole food market if you ever go to whole foods they have ones that are fillet but if you call them day before or early morning and ask them to save you a whole fish it tastes great i love red snapper we usually fry it or make it in tamarind gravy and it doesnÒ€ℒt smell so give it a try.

  22. Hi! I love your recipes, I try out quite a few of them. Have linked from my blog too – http://noodlesandmangopickle.blogspot.in. One doubt – the coriander and jeera, I should dry-grind first, and then add the garlic etc, right? I didn’t, so the coriander seeds didn’t grind properly, they’re all floating around in the curry now, hope I still get the taste πŸ™‚

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