One of the most abundant fish is the tilapia and there are also many species that are available in the wet market. In the Philippines I think there are only 2 to 3 species that are sold in wet market and supermarket. The black colored which thrive in salt water and the light grey tilapia in freshwater. The black one is usually favorable because it doesn’t have the muddy taste the most fresh water fishes has. Fresh water tilapia sometimes has strong muddy smell and taste (lasang gilik) and that is when the fish is caught from dirty water. But you can be sure if the tilapia is bred in fish ponds and specially the variety “tilapiang pampangga” is I think the best tasting tilapia I’ve known.
A Delicious and Easy Recipe
When it comes to fish, tilapia is one of the most popular and readily available options in the market. With its mild flavor and versatility, it’s no wonder why many people enjoy cooking and savoring this delectable fish. If you’re looking for a tasty and tangy dish to satisfy your cravings, sweet and sour tilapia is the perfect recipe for you. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of making this delightful dish step by step.
Cleaning and Preparing the Tilapia
Before you start cooking, it’s essential to ensure that your tilapia is fresh and properly cleaned. Begin by removing the gills and internal organs of the fish. If you haven’t asked the fish vendor to do this for you, take a moment to clean the tilapia yourself. Rinse the fish under cold running water to remove any impurities, and then rub it with salt. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the salt to penetrate and enhance the flavor.
Frying the Tilapia to Perfection
To achieve a deliciously crispy exterior, it’s time to fry the tilapia. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough for frying. Carefully place the tilapia in the pan and fry it until it turns golden brown on both sides. Once cooked, transfer the fried tilapia to a colander to drain excess oil. Finally, transfer it to a serving dish where it will be topped with the mouthwatering sweet and sour sauce.
Preparing the Sweet and Sour Sauce
Now that your tilapia is perfectly fried, it’s time to prepare the sweet and sour sauce that will elevate its flavors. In a saucepan, heat two tablespoons of cooking oil and sauté garlic, onion, and ginger until they become fragrant and cooked. Next, add in the carrots and stir-fry them for a few seconds before adding the vibrant red bell pepper. These vegetables will add both color and texture to your dish.
To create the iconic sweet and sour taste, pour in the tomato ketchup and cornstarch. Stir and cook the mixture over low heat for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. For sweetness, add brown sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce appears too thick, you can add a little water to achieve the desired consistency. Remember, it’s important to adjust the seasonings and flavors according to your preference.
Bringing It All Together
The moment has finally arrived to bring your sweet and sour tilapia dish to completion. Pour the tantalizing sauce over the fried tilapia, making sure it coats every inch of the fish. This will infuse the tilapia with the irresistible sweet and tangy flavors, making it a treat for your taste buds. To add a touch of freshness and color, garnish the dish with chopped green onions. Now, all that’s left to do is serve your sweet and sour tilapia hot and savor every delicious bite.
Enjoy the Delights of Sweet and Sour Tilapia
With its simplicity and tantalizing flavors, sweet and sour tilapia is a dish that will impress both family and friends. From the perfectly fried tilapia to the luscious sweet and sour sauce, every element of this recipe comes together harmoniously. Whether you’re a seafood enthusiast or simply looking for a new recipe to try, this dish is a must-try. So, gather your ingredients, follow the steps outlined above, and embark on a culinary adventure with sweet and sour tilapia. Want to try other tilapia dish? try this Tilapia in Pineapple-Ginger Sauce !
How to Cook Sweet and Sour Tilapia
- 2 pcs large Tilapia or pla-pla
- 1 medium size red bell pepper cut into strips
- 1 small carrots cut into strips
- 1 piece onion sliced into rings
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 thumb size ginger cut into strips
- 2 stalks green onion cut into 1 inch long (optional)
- 1/2 cup tomato catsup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolve in 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups water
- Cooking oil for frying
How to cook Sweet and Sour Tilapia:
- Clean the tilapia and remove the gills and internal organs (if you haven't asked the fish vendor to remove the gills and internal organ.)
- Wash in running water to clean the fishes and rub with salt. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.
- Fry the tilapia until golden brown then transfer to a colander to drain excess oil. Transfer to a serving dish.
- In a saucepan heat 2 Tbsp. of cooking oil and saute garlic, onion and ginger until cooked.
- Add in the carrots and stir fry for a few seconds then add in the red bell pepper.
- Pour the tomato ketchup and cornstarch, stir cook in low fire for a few minutes.
- Add in the brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Adjust the amount if necessary.
- Add some water if the sauce seems to thick and adjust to achieve the perfect consistency.
- Pout the sauce over the fried tilapia and garnish with green onion. Serve hot.
Cooking Tips For Sweet and Sour Tilapia:
- To achieve a perfectly crispy texture, make sure the oil is hot enough before frying the tilapia. Test the temperature by dropping a small piece of bread into the oil - if it sizzles and turns golden brown quickly, it's ready for frying.
- Adjust the sweetness and tanginess of the sweet and sour sauce to suit your taste by gradually adding brown sugar and vinegar, tasting and adjusting as you go until you achieve the perfect balance of flavors.
- For a healthier alternative, you can opt for baking or grilling the tilapia instead of frying. Brush the fish with a little oil and cook it in a preheated oven or on a grill until it's cooked through and slightly browned.
- To enhance the overall presentation of the dish, consider garnishing the sweet and sour tilapia with thinly sliced fresh bell peppers, chopped cilantro, or a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, adding a pop of color and additional flavor to your plate.