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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tilapia with Tamarind Sauce

Tamarind has this unique flavor that can spice up any dish. The hard green pulp of a young fruit is very sour and acidic and is often used as a component of savory dishes. The ripened fruit is less sour and somewhat sweeter, so it when added to this fish dish, trust me you have the most delightful flavor.


  • 2-3 fillets of talapia, or other white-fleshed fish (cod, sole, snapper, etc...)
  • generous handful fresh coriander
  • 3 spring (green) onions, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste (available by the jar at Chinese, Asian, or Indian food stores)(or use fresh tamarind if you can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. palm or brown sugar (or substitute 1 1/2 Tbsp. white sugar) - adjust to taste
  • 3/4 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/3 loose cup chopped fresh coriander (include both stems and leaves)
  • 2 tsp. red chili sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated or cut thinly into strips
Place all "Tamarind Sauce" ingredients together in a sauce pan. Gently warm over low to medium heat until you get a uniform consistency.

  1. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 of the sauce over the fish fillets. Cover the rest and keep warm over minimum heat for later.
  2. Turn the fillets over several times in the sauce/marinade, then cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Fish is done perfectly when the flesh flakes easily and is no longer translucent. Note that thick fillets may need 20-25 minutes.
  3. When fish is cooked, remove it from the oven. Lift fillets out of the baking dish and place on a serving plate or individual plates. Pour reserved tamarind sauce over, then top with spring onion and fresh coriander. You can even use mint leaves (this gives it a nice look and flavor)

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