AsianFishHealthyMain DishThaiUnder 30 Minutes

Thai Tilapia Curry

Enjoy this delicious, easy to make Thai Tilapia Curry recipe with a Thai Coconut Curry Sauce that adds a bold flavor to a mild fish and to the side of rice.

Enjoy this delicious, easy to make Thai Tilapia Coconut Curry recipe with a Thai Coconut Curry Sauce that adds a bold flavor to a mild fish and to the side of rice.

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?

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce

Let me count the ways I love tilapia:

One. 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)…

Two. 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)…

Three. 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…

Four. 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 Thai Coconut Curry Sauce. This meal rocks my world in so many ways.

Looking for tilapia curry recipes? Check out this great one! Enjoy this delicious, easy to make Thai Red Curry Tilapia recipe with a Thai Coconut Curry Sauce that adds a bold flavor to a mild fish and to the side of rice.

First, combining the coconut milk, red curry sauce and the other ingredients in this recipe makes a special curry sauce for fish!

Let’s make another list of why this curried tilapia recipe rocks, shall we?

  1. Tilapia (see above).
  2. Thai Food (duh).
  3. Under 30 minutes.
  4. Low-Calorie.
  5. Delicious.

Ready for the Thai coconut curry tilapia magic?

Here’s the Recipe!

Crispy Tilapia in Thai Coconut Curry Sauce Recipe

Enjoy this delicious, easy to make Thai Tilapia Curry recipe with a Thai Coconut Curry Sauce that adds a bold flavor to a mild fish and to the side of rice.
4.5 from 56 votes
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 4
Calories: 435kcal
Author: The Wanderlust Kitchen
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  • 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 14 oz. 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.


You can add crushed red pepper flakes to increase the spiciness if desired. Add the amount you want based on your taste.
Nutrition Facts
Crispy Tilapia in Thai Coconut Curry Sauce Recipe
Serving Size
1 serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Take a picture and tag @thewanderlustkitchen on Instagram or tag #thewanderlustkitchen! We can't wait to see your version!

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About the Author


Hi, I'm Anetta! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel stories from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. I believe that food brings us together as much as it sets us apart. Be brave, try something new!

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  1. Made this recipe tonight. Delicious. Didn’t have lines but I added red pepper flakes to increase the heat. Thanks.

  2. This recipe is amazing. I’ve never actually had curry, so this was kind of jumping into a cuisine I know nothing about. I couldn’t find the lime leaf (boo, local stores), but squeezed some lime juice over my dish and it seemed to work okay. When I tried the sauce plain, I was concerned it’d be too sweet, but the moment I tried it with the tilapia, it melted in my mouth. I should note that the only seafood I eat is tilapia and salmon, so I’m SO happy I found this recipe to add to our mix.

    So wonderfully delicious. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Kirs! Thank you so much for this wonderful feedback. I’m super picky about seafood, too 🙂 I’m glad you introduced some curry into your life, it’s a favorite of mine because it’s so easy to whip up at a moment’s notice. Thanks again for stopping by!

  3. How did you get the curry all red like that? I’m a student
    and I tried this recipe. It came out well but I think it could have
    been better for me. It was my first attempt but I will try it again
    and again until I perfect it. 🙂 Thank you!

  4. This looks so amazing!! I really want to make this but I
    don’t have access to kaffir lime leaves where I live. Is there a
    good substitute for this ingredient, or will the dish still taste
    just as good without the lime leaves?

    1. Hi, Rie! You can absolutely leave them out if you can’t find any. It will lack a little of the distinct flavor, but a squeeze of lime juice over the top right before serving will brighten it up just fine! I’m made this without the leaves many times 🙂 If you do come across lime leaves, but lots because they freeze really well. Once you cook with them you’ll never pay for restaurant Thai food again 😉

  5. Just got a big ol’ bag o’ tilapia at Costco this last weekend, gonna give this a try next, letcha know how it turns out.

    Many thanks,

    The RoadLord