Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fried Fish with Soy and Chile Glaze

The Rodrigues' are visiting so I attempt to put my best culinary foot forward. It is a joy to cook for them as they truly relish whatever comes out of my kitchen. The theme is Asian. A vibrant soba noodle salad, replete with yellow and orange peppers, red radishes, slivers of green mango and a fistful of herbs from Geets' garden. A bowl of blistered Shishito peppers. A tentative stab at shrimp pajeon with a gochujang sauce. And a main course of tilapia with a dark soy glaze.

Tilapia filets are seasoned with salt and pepper and then dusted with arrowroot. Flash fried in a pan and finished in the oven, the filets are then drizzled with an aromatic soy sauce. Start with butter and olive oil. Add finely minced onions, ginger, garlic and green chiles. Saute till the air is perfumed with a heavenly aroma. Then add kecap manis, light soy, dark soy, sugar and pepper powder. The sauce is similar to another recipe I use with chicken. As the sauce sits, it intensifies in flavor. This deep brown glaze gets its character from dark soy sauce. Leave it out and you have a second tier glaze. Good, but not great.

Serve 4

8 Tilapia filets 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper 
1-2 tablespoons Arrowroot or Cornstarch 
2 tablespoons Olive Oil 
3 tablespoons Butter
1 small Onion
1 tablespoon finely minced Ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced Garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced Green Chile
2 tablespoons Kecap Manis
1 tablespoon light or regular Soy Sauce 
2 tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce 
1 teaspoons Sugar
2-3 tablespoons Black Pepper powder 
Cilantro for garnishing

Wash and pat dry tilapia filets.

Heat oven to 300F.

Season filets with salt and pepper on both sides.

Dust with arrowroot lightly on both sides.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick saucepan.

Fry the filets for 2-3 minutes on each side till slightly colored. Place them in an ovenproof plate.

Bake filets for 10 minutes.

Make the sauce while filets bake.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a small pan.

When butter has melted, add onion, ginger, garlic and green chiles. Saute for 2-3 minutes till onion is translucent.

Add kecap manis, light and dark soy sauces and sugar. Bring sauce to simmer and let it bubble for 3-5 minutes stirring often.

Add pepper powder and take it off the flame. You could make the sauce earlier as the flavor intensifies as it sits.

Take filets out of the oven and arrange on a serving platter.

Drizzle glaze generously over filets.

Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!


Any fish filets could be used. Boneless fish works the best.

The sauce could be made up to 6 hours earlier. Reheat till warm before drizzling over fish.

There is no substitute for dark soy sauce. It has a strong flavor that cannot be recreated or substituted.

It has been a while since the four of us have sat down to dinner. Everything feels right. The wine, the food, but most of all our friendship. Thirty two years has a treasure trove of memories. Though we do not live a couple of towns away anymore, the distance apart brings us closer together. And for that we are blessed.