Filed Under: Child, Dinner, Father's Day, Fish, Pregnancy, Under 20 Mins

Tilapia Two Ways

Fix tempura-battered fish sticks for the kids while you chow down on just-spicy-enough Cajun-dusted fillets

February 22nd, 2007

"Even my fussy 12-year-old son who doesn't normally eat fish really liked it." Joanne Miller, Edmonton
4 to 5
Prep Time
Prep & cooking time: 30 minutes
  • 4 tilapia fillets (4 oz/125 g each)
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) soda water
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each paprika, dried basil and garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • Pinch cayenne or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sweet red pepper strips
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped pitted olives
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) drained capers
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped parsley
  • Lemon wedges
  1. Rinse fish under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels. Set 2 fillets aside; cut remaining fillets into quarters.

  2. FOR THE KIDS Following manufacturer's directions, heat vegetable oil to 375°F (190°C) in a deep-fat fryer. Alternatively, pour oil into a large wide pot to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm); heat over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer registers 375°F (190°C) or a cube of bread dropped into oil turns golden in 30 seconds. If using pot, reduce heat as necessary to maintain correct temperature.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients; pour in soda water. Whisk until batter is smooth.

  4. Put half of fish pieces in batter, turning to coat evenly. Lift them out one at a time, letting excess batter drip back into bowl. Slide each piece gently into oil; fry for 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp. Remove from fryer; drain well on paper towels. Keep warm. Repeat with remaining fish.

  5. FOR THE GROWN-UPS While tilapia is deep-frying, in a small bowl, stir together thyme, paprika, basil, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. Spread spice mixture over both sides of remaining fish fillets.

  6. In a large good-quality non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook fish for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until it flakes easily with a fork. Remove fish from skillet; keep warm.

  7. In fat remaining in skillet, cook sweet pepper, olives and capers for 3 to 5 minutes, until pepper is tender-crisp. Stir in parsley. Spoon over Cajun-rubbed fish.

  8. Serve deep-fried and Cajun-rubbed fish with lemon wedges.

Nutrients Per Serving

PER SERVING (KIDS) 134 calories, 4.6 g fat, 23 mg calcium, 187 mg sodium, 7.1 g carbohydrates, 0.2 g fibre, 15.9 g protein; excellent source of niacin

PER SERVING (GROWN-UPS) 190 calories, 9.7 g fat, 38 mg calcium, 456 mg sodium, 3.4 g carbohydrates, 1.2 g fibre, 23.4 g protein; excellent source of vitamin C and niacin; good source of folate

Tilapia Two Ways
Photography By Michael Alberstat
Food Styling By Ian Muggridge
Prop Styling By Sasha Seymour