This one is DEFINITELY going on the regular rotation at our house.
Do you see this deliciousness?
Crispy fried tilapia with a sweet and spicy coconut-curry sauce on a bed of fluffy jasmine rice.
Have I already told you about my tilapia obsession? I haven’t?
Let me count the ways I love tilapia:
- It’s abundant. I don’t think I’ve ever had trouble finding tilapia in a grocery store. You may not think this is a big deal, but to me it really is. Doesn’t it drive you nuts when you have EVERYTHING you need for a meal in your cart but come to find out that the store doesn’t have some crucial ingredient? Granted, some of you may say that tilapia is easily substituted because white fish is white fish is white fish, but I disagree. Tilapia is not only white fish, (wait for it)…
- It’s cheap. Mega-cheap. My mom is always telling me that back in “the day,” fish was very inexpensive and was considered a “working man’s food.” Of course as people started buying more and more of it (because it was cheap), the price has inflated over the years. I’m so glad I took those graduate-level economics classes so I could gain a basic grasp of supply and demand. While “fresh” tilapia can certainly set you back a pretty penny if you’re buying out of the fish case at a Whole Foods, I’ll let you in on a little secret… (wait for it)…
- It’s freezer-friendly. Aren’t we all a little obsessed with freezing things lately? It seems like 90% of the recipes I see re-pinned over and over again are either crockpot recipes or freezer recipes. I buy four-pound bags of frozen fillets at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) for about $10. Each fillet is about 4 oz, which means that for about $10 the husband and I can each eat four fish dinners (yay, math!). Other than being incredibly cheap, frozen tilapia provides me an extra advantage in the kitchen…
- It’s quick to thaw, and quick to cook! *Technically* I don’t think the food-governing-lords recommend thawing fish any other way than overnight in a fridge (seriously, who has the foresight for that?), but I like to just toss mine in the sink, cover it in room temperature water, and let the magic happen. I’ve been using this method for years and have never had any issues. It thaws in about 5-10 minutes, which means I can have absolutely NOTHING planned for dinner, then 10 minutes later I am cooking away.
Which brings us to today’s special presentation of Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce. This meal rocks my world in so many ways.
Let’s make another list, shall we?
- Tilapia (see above).
- Thai Food (duh).
- Under 30 minutes.
- Every ingredient comes from either the freezer or the pantry. Which means I can put absolutely no forethought into making it. <— This is KEY.
Ready for the magic?
Makes: 4 Servings
- 4 (4 oz) tilapia fillets
- 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. wok oil (grapeseed or vegetable oil work great, too)
- 1 (14oz) can light coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. panang curry paste (or any red curry paste)
- 1/4 c. water
- 1 Tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 2-4 whole wild lime leaves
- Jasmine rice, cilantro and lime wedges for serving
- Pat each of the fish fillets dry with a paper towel, then cut into quarters. Stir together the flour and pepper in a pie plate or shallow dish. Place the fish pieces into the pie plate a few at a time and coat them with the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and set aside.
- Heat the wok or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, lay half of the fish pieces to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until crisp and brown. The fish doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through at this point because it is going to simmer later on. Once crisp, remove from pan and set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining half of the fish pieces.
- Reduce the heat to medium and wipe out any excess oil in the pan, then add half a can of coconut milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut milk is hot and foamy. Add in the curry paste and stir for about 2 minutes to work it into the coconut milk, using the back of a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces.
- Add the rest of the coconut milk, as well as the water, sugar, fish sauce, and lime leaves (if using). Stir for one minute, then return the fish pieces to the pan. Spoon the curry sauce over the top of the fish. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until fish has cooked through. Discard lime leaves.
- Garnish with cilantro, and serve on a bed of jasmine rice with lime wedges for squeezing.
Nutrition (includes fish and sauce):
275 calories, 14 g. fat, 23 g. protein, 15 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 7