Crispy Basil and Chilli Tilapia

Crispy Basil and Chilli Tilapia


6 people made this

About this recipe: A whole tilapia is deep fried till golden, then served with a Thai-inspired sauce flavoured with Thai basil, garlic, red chillies and fish sauce, or nam pla. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.


Serves: 4 

  • 1 whole fresh tilapia, cleaned and scaled
  • 1 litre oil for deep frying
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 5 large red chillies, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Thai basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Prep:15min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:30min 

  1. Heat 1 litre oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 175 degrees C. If you do not have a thermometer, then dip the head of the fish into the oil; if it sizzles, it is ready, if it does not sizzle, then wait a couple minutes and try again.
  2. Rinse the fish and dry well. Make several angled slits along the body of the fish, cutting down to the rib bones. Make two lateral slits along the back of the fish, from head to tail, on either side of the dorsal fin. These cuts will ensure quick cooking and maximum crispiness.
  3. Gently slip the fish into the oil and fry until crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the fish from the oil and let it drain on kitchen paper. Place on a large serving platter.
  4. While the fish drains, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan. Cook and stir the chillies, garlic and onion in the hot oil until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the fish sauce and soy sauce into the mixture, remove from heat, and fold the Thai basil and coriander into the mixture. Pour the sauce over the fish to serve.

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