Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spicy baked tilapia fillets (Serves 6)

Spicy baked tilapia fillet

The introduction to today’s recipe is a bit longer than usual, but I felt  that a backdrop is necessary on how this recipe found its way to our home. I used to be an ardent fish lover before marriage, but my  hubby  M never really liked fish. So over these years, I rarely cooked fish at home, that too only when we had guests who loved fish. But last Saturday he made a sudden announcement that we should start cooking fish. I don’t know the exact reason for this sudden change, but I guess it partly stemmed from the empathy he felt for me for my ‘fish sacrifice’ and partly because we are looking for healthier and better diet changes. Any ways, I couldn't believe my ears and had to make him repeat the announcement to confirm that it was indeed real. I have heard dreadful stories from his amma and achan (mom and dad) about the repeated failed attempts to make him and his bro eat fish. But there were strict conditions set before we went for shopping: 1) It should not give that dreaded fishy smell 2) No frying  3)  Absolutely no fish bones 4) Dish should be photogenic enough for his camera 5) the home should smell as if no fish ever set foot (oops gills!!!) in our kitchen.  These conditions immediately brought the images of a  ‘spicy baked tilapia in banana leaf’ recipe i saw in a cookery show long back and had taken notes from. After a tedious search, I located it in one of my note books. This dish can be a mouth watering snack by itself  and also is an excellent side dish  to white rice or fried rice. More importantly, it fulfilled all his conditions. I am thrilled to state that M enjoyed the preparation more than me with multiple servings :-P . Also this baked tilapia dish is spicy, flavorful and healthy at the same time and the aroma that mint leaves and coriander leaves impart is truly irresistible…..

For the marination:

Tilapia fillets 6 fillets
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Freshly squeezed lime juice 2 tsp
Salt as needed

Mix all these together and rub on to the tilapia fillets. Marinate this for at least 2 hours.

For the stuffing and Topping:

Onions 3 cups, thinly sliced
Ginger 3 TBSP, finely chopped
Garlic 2 TBSP, finely chopped
Green chilly 3 nos, finely chopped
Coriander powder 2 TBSP
Red chilly powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Mint leaves 3 TBSP, chopped
Coriander leaves 2 TBSP, chopped
Tomato puree from 2 tomatoes (microwave the tomatoes for 2 minutes and peel the skin off, puree in a blender)
Sugar ¾ tsp
Salt as needed
Oil 2 TBSP
Whole tomato 1 no, sliced into round for garnish
Banana leaf/Aluminum foil

Spicy baked tilapia fillet


Heat 2 TBSP oil in a pan at medium heat. Add ginger and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the sliced onions and salt. Sauté until onions are light golden brown color. Throw in chopped green chillies and sauté for another 3 minutes. Now add red chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Sauté this along with onions until the raw smell from the powders goes off. Next add the chopped mint and coriander leaves. Stir well. Adjust salt and add the tomato puree. Cook until oil separates. Add sugar, mix well to combine and switch off the stove.


Cut each fillet into 2 halves lengthwise. Place a TBSP of the filling on to one side of the fish. Bend the fillet like a sandwich and place another TBSP of filling on top. Place a sliced tomato above the filling as in the picture below. Repeat the same with all the fillets.

Tilapila fillets stuffed and topped with filling

Stuffed, rolled, topped fillets arranged on banana leaf


Pre heat the oven at 350 F. Line an oven safe dish with banana leaf (if its available) or else with aluminum foil. Arrange the fish fillets on the dish. Cover with an aluminum foil. Bake this for 30 minutes. Delicious Spicy baked tilapia fillets are ready to serve…

Spicy baked tilapia fillets

Hope you all will enjoy this as much as me and M did!!!

Cheers, Suji !!!


  1. Have never cooked fish this way but nice to have a healthy version of it, wow looks worth a try and so beautiful...

  2. Oh Dear .... I luv your write up. Enjoyed the *Conditions Applied* for cooking fish. The recipe is delicious.
    And I am sure your hubby's camera must have enjoyed capturing these lovely clicks.

    Cheers n Happy fishing (oops Cooking),

  3. Tilapia is one of my fav fish..nice recipe,spicy n yummmmm...Nice presentation

  4. Suji...baked tilapia looks yummy....we had tilapia fry yesterday...same in our house too, I'm a big time fish lover and my hubby not that much...i've to make it extra spicy with all the chilli and pepper to make him eat fish....

  5. yummy recipe....and the bake twist....very appeti-zing!!

  6. Suji..baked tilapia looks superb..great recipe and so good that you were able to fulfill the conditions applied :)
    looks great and healthy too..will surely give this a try

  7. Mouth watering....mmmm!!!

    This reminds me of Karimeen Pollichathu back in Kerala.....

    The last time I had it was when I went with my undergrad friends to Kuttikanam (high range, Kottayam)..... That was from a very special shop on KK road :-)...

    nice clicks too Mr. M

    Welcome to the club of Fish lovers as well:-)

  8. Dearest Suji,

    As i read the description of this I could actually picture your surprise, you looking frantically for the recipe and of course the delicious meal :)

    I will come and visit you and give you a list of what all I want to eat ahead of time, diet for a good one month so I don't feel guilty eating great food :)

    Manoj glad you started eating fish :):)

  9. Sooooo yummy mouth is watering looking at those pics
    Sinfully Spicy

  10. I'm totally drooling here. Enjoyed reading the write up. You hubby would a great time eating and clicking. Loved the cute little pouches you made !!!

  11. hahaha you know exactly like ur husband when it comes to all those conditions:)
    baked tilapia seems like a good idea though we rarely get tilapia here:(

  12. I ve never tried tilapia fillets. .Should give a try soon..

  13. Hey Suji,same situation here too.evide pinne aghane conditions onnumilla.njan pinne vazhakundaki aanelum weekly once elum fish vaghiche adaghuu...;)
    E recipe nannayittundu ketto.but eniku oven ellalo :(

  14. Soooo tempting baked tilapia filets, very irresistible..

  15. wooo i love tilapis fillets and this is too good with spicy masala...very well presented..

  16. amazing pictures and drooling on that spicy looking tilapias....

  17. Superb!!!! vayil ippo kappal odikkam...

  18. Just love this recipe..Looks delicious.Lovely clicks !!

    Best Regards

  19. adipoli recipe..aa ila kumbil kidilan aayittundu ketto..

  20. Ethu kollameda!vaayil vellam niranju...looks so tempting and healthy too..will try soon...thx for sharing da.

  21. Fish lovers will be tempted to make this dish...lovely clicks!

  22. I love your creativity! Love it love it! All your shots are amazing....

  23. can't wait to try this on!!!You are really creative,never even thought of cooking fish in this are really drool worthy.

  24. bravo...wht a mindblowing kill me and the dish too.......yummmmmmmmmm

  25. Adipoli.. Adipoli..nalla pic also..AWesome!!!!!!!!

  26. Thats a lovely recipe, Shyama!! Enikkum ela kumbil nannayi eshtapettu..Kandittu kothi varunnu....

  27. i tried it....its sooo yummmmy.....i love this recipe soo much....gr8tttt...thnxs a lotttt!!

  28. Hi Shabnam..Thanks for the feedback, I am happy that you liked it :)



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