Garlic and Chili Tilapia Recipe

Blogger ate my photos! This is a pictureless post.

Bobby loves rich, oily fish – salmon and tuna are his favorites.

But, I think I may have won him over to the side of light, white fish with last night’s recipe. This tilapia is flavorful and melts in your mouth. I got a huge Asian cookbook from my brother for Christmas, and looking at those recipes served as inspiration for this exotic dish. Asian food can be intimidating, but this recipe proves that good food can be simple and impressive.

First you make the marinade, then let the fish soak up the juices. You could cook the fish several different ways – I like to use a non-stick pan with a little bit of oil (or not, if it’s really non-stick), but this could be grilled as well. If you do decide to grill the filets, be careful – tilapia gets very delicate as it cooks.

Other good seafood to use would be other white fish (especially Cod) or scallops. I’d be hesitant to use more flavorful fish/shellfish (like shrimp, mussels, or salmon) just because the spices should really be allowed to shine.

Garlic and Chili Tilapia Recipe

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 tilapia filets
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon various seafood spices (optional – I have a nice Old Bay seasoning mix that I like to use)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water


  1. Combine the garlic, chili powder, cumin, spices, ginger, soy sauce, and vinegar to make a marinade. Pour over the tilapia, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain the filets but save the marinade.
  2. Cook tilapia in a non-stick pan for about 3 minutes on each side. If you let the chopped garlic and ginger cook with the fish, it gives it a really nice flavor. Then remove from the pan.
  3. Heat the marinade in a saucepan with the water until it boils; stir for 1 minute and serve over the filets.