Crunchy Coconut-Peanut Tilapia

A couple weeks ago I found a great deal on a bag of frozen tilapia filets that I couldn’t resist. Not all fish lends well to freezing, but tilapia, a fairly mild white fish that can be flavored in a variety of ways, works pretty well. I’ve made tilapia tacos a couple of times, and we’re pretty addicted to those, but it was time for something different. Something different involving the leftover coconut milk from the other night and the jar of peanuts in the cabinet that my husband has been munching on.
I decided to use the coconut milk mixed with a little curry powder as a marinade and mix some crushed peanuts with panko for a crispy coating. Pretty simple, but pretty delicious. My first instinct was to pan-sear the fish – call me crazy, but I always seem to forget about my oven. I always get a bit over-ambitious though, perhaps too confident in my own abilities, because I’m really not all that great at pan-searing fish. At the last minute, I was somehow inspired to try the mock-broiler-pan-method (because I don’t have a broiler pan). This involves a cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet. Baking like this helps to keep the bottom crispy as well as the top – great for any kind of breaded meat or fish; and of course, it’s healthy. The tilapia came out excellent – nice crispy texture on the outside, but still moist and tender inside. I can just imagine the blackened spots of burned peanuts flaking off had I tried to pan-sear this!
Crunchy Coconut-Peanut Tilapia
2 tilapia filets, 6oz each
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/2 tsp curry powder
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 oz roasted peanuts
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Or, just use a broiler pan.

Stir together coconut milk and curry powder, and pour over fish in a shallow baking dish. Turn fish to coat both sides and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Pulse peanuts and panko together in a food processor or blender; season with salt and pepper. Pour the crumbs onto a plate. Remove fish from coconut milk and press both sides into the crumbs, then gently place on the cooling rack.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until opaque in the center. If desired, turn on broiler for the last couple of minutes to get the top extra-crispy.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 326.4
Total Fat: 12.8 g
Cholesterol: 75.0 mg
Sodium: 80.5 mg
Total Carbs: 13.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 39.1 g

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11 Responses to “Crunchy Coconut-Peanut Tilapia”

  1. 1

    Kevin — March 1, 2008 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    That fish sounds great, especially the crust!

  2. 2

    Jaime — March 1, 2008 @ 10:02 pm Reply

    yum! i love the flavors you brought together in this dish :)

  3. 3

    Kate — March 2, 2008 @ 7:50 am Reply

    I love this dish because it could very easily be transposed to chicken – which I actually eat.

  4. 4

    Robin — March 3, 2008 @ 12:42 pm Reply

    Wow this looks delicious!

  5. 5

    ~Amber~ — March 4, 2008 @ 12:38 am Reply

    This looks awesome Cara! I am joining Kate above and saying that I would love to try it with chicken. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 6

    Cara — March 4, 2008 @ 2:21 am Reply

    FYI I made it again tonight, with a little more curry powder and dash of peach hot sauce mixed with the coconut milk. I think it came out even better!

  7. 7

    Kiy — March 18, 2008 @ 3:04 pm Reply

    This looks great, I have GOT to try it! Cheers, Kiy

  8. 8

    Susan (peebsmama) — March 30, 2010 @ 11:03 am Reply

    OMGosh this was SO good! The coconut milk really made the crunchy topping stick to the fish perfectly. I didn't have coconut flavoring so I added shredded coconut to the panko/peanut mixture to enhance the coconut flavor. I will definitely be adding this to my regular recipe repetoire. TFS

  9. 9

    Kiy — April 5, 2011 @ 1:18 am Reply

    This looks great, I have GOT to try it! Cheers, Kiy

  10. 10

    Susan (peebsmama) — April 5, 2011 @ 1:18 am Reply

    OMGosh this was SO good! The coconut milk really made the crunchy topping stick to the fish perfectly. I didn't have coconut flavoring so I added shredded coconut to the panko/peanut mixture to enhance the coconut flavor. I will definitely be adding this to my regular recipe repetoire. TFS

  11. 11

    Robin — April 5, 2011 @ 1:19 am Reply

    Wow this looks delicious!

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