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Vietnamese Tilapia with Turmeric & Dill

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Serves 2

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 95

Sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and chile make a simple yet classic sauce—one that’s practically requisite at any Vietnamese meal. Here it’s drizzled over quick-cooking fish fillets.

  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. minced jalapeno
  • 6 medium scallions
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill (about 3/4 oz.)
  • 2 tilapia fillets (about 12 oz. total)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lime juice and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the fish sauce and jalapeno. Set aside.

Trim the scallions and cut them into 2-inch-long pieces. Quarter the white and light-green pieces lengthwise; leave the dark-green pieces whole. Cut the dill into 2-inch-long pieces (you should have about 1/2 cup).

Pat the fish dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the ginger, turmeric, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper all over the fillets.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tilapia and cook, flipping once, until just firm and opaque in the center of the thickest part, about 4 minutes total. Transfer the tilapia to two serving plates.

Add the scallions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until they just start to wilt, about 45 seconds. Add the dill and continue to cook until it has wilted slightly, about 15 seconds more. Pile the scallions and dill over the tilapia and serve the sauce on the side for drizzling.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Garlic, Ginger, and Scallions.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 310; Fat (g): fat g 10; Fat Calories (kcal): 90; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1.5; Protein (g): protein g 36; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 19; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1630; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 85; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I think this is really good, my wife picked at the leftovers and she is not a tilapia fan. We made double the sauce for the next day. The kids ate it. The dill-green onion topping goes really well, but the recipe doesn't make enough! I would make four times as much as suggested and pile it on!!!

I thought the flavors were disjointed. Beautiful presentation with the colors and textures, but too much sugar and fish sauce and not enough of the other tastes. Different, but not for me. My husband liked it. But he likes everything. Good guy to cook for.

i once had a very similar dish at a vietnamese restaurant in Garden Grove, CA. I tried to replicate that dish with this recipe. I cooked the Tilapia as directed, but served with large leaves of lettuce, cooked rice vermicelli, and handfuls of herbs....dill, cilantro, mint, thai basil, and green onions...served by having each person take a lettuce leave, place fish on top, cover with herbs/green onions and dip into nuoc cham (the dipping sauce)...it was almost as good as that served at the restaurant.

Nice for a change as it was a different mix of flavors than usual for us. Very fast weeknight dinner, very healthy too. It seemed like an awful lot of dill but it was just right when all cooked down & eaten together over the fish. We served it over jasmine rice. My husband liked it a lot more than I did; I'm not sure if I'd bother with it again but he said he would so maybe I would for him but not in a hurry.

Easy to make, complex flavors, everyone likes it

Delicious and easy! I found it a nice use for the fresh dill I had on hand from my CSA.

Really simple and delicious recipe. I don't have much of a sweet tooth so I found I needed to half the amount of sugar in the dipping sauce (or you could double the rest of the ingredients - it is super delicious).

This was simple, tasty and a great way to make tilapia. I'll definitely do it again.

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