Tag Archives: tilapia

Mexican Night… Fish tacos with mango salsa

Fish Tacos

In Denver there are many Mexican restaurants that serve up authentic Mexican meals for cheap. One of my favorite Mexican restaurants is Guadalajara on South Abilene in Aurora. Their food is delicious, the portions are huge and the price is just right. I love their fish tacos but the mayo sauce they add to it, is just too much sometimes. So I recreated the fish tacos with my own twist, of course. If you like fish tacos, then you will love this one.

I am using tilapia filets for my fish tacos.  Season about 6 tilapia filets with 1 packet of store bought taco seasoning. Any brand will do. Let marinade for 15 to 30 minutes.

I am using tilapia filets for my fish tacos.
Season about 6 tilapia filets with 1 packet of store bought taco seasoning. Any brand will do.
Let marinade for 15 to 30 minutes.

While the fish marinades, Chop 1 sweet white onion, 1 bell pepper, 6 cloves of garlic and about 1 cup of cilantro.

While the fish marinades, Chop 1 sweet white onion, 1 bell pepper, 6 cloves of garlic, about 1 cup of cilantro and 3 roma tomatoes (not shown).

Add 2 tbsp oil to a saute pan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add chopped onions and cook until soft and brown.  Add pepper, garlic and cilantro.

Add 2 tbsp oil to a saute pan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add chopped onions and cook until soft and brown.
Add tomatoes, peppers, garlic and about 1/2 of the cilantro.

Cook until peppers a bit soft but not mushy.

Cook until tomatoes are a bit soft but not mushy.

Add seasoned tilapia to the top of the cooked seasoning. Reduce heat, cover and let steam for about 5 minutes.

Add seasoned tilapia to the top of the cooked seasoning.
Reduce heat, cover and let steam for about 5 minutes.

After fish has steamed for about 5 minutes, flake fish and mix with seasoning.  Add the juice of 1 lime, a pinch of salt (if needed) and the remaining cilantro.  Mix together and continue to cook uncovered.

After fish has steamed for about 5 minutes, flake fish and mix with seasoning.
Add the juice of 1 lime, a pinch of salt (if needed) and the remaining cilantro.
Mix together and continue to cook uncovered for about 3 more minutes, then remove from heat.

For the mango salsa you will need.  1 firm yellow (1/2 ripe) mango. diced (about 2 cups of diced mangoes). 5 heads of green onions, finely chopped 1 roma tomato, diced 1/4 cup of cilantro The juice of 1/2 lime.  Add all the ingredients to a bowl, add a pinch of salt and some cayenne pepper and mix together.

For the mango salsa you will need.
1 firm yellow (1/2 ripe) mango, diced (about 2 cups of diced mangoes).
5  green onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup of cilantro
The juice of 1/2 lime.
Add all the ingredients to a bowl, add a pinch of salt and some chili powder and mix together.

I am using flour tortillas for my tacos.  Warm tortillas on a hot skillet, add fish, then top with mango salsa and some shredded cheddar cheese (if you like).

I am using flour tortillas for my tacos.
Warm tortillas on a hot skillet, add fish, then top with mango salsa and some shredded cheddar cheese (if you like).

Fish Tacos.

I served my tacos with Mexican rice and black beans. Continue reading for a quick recipe for both.

For a quick Mexican rice, I combine two cups of rice, and 4 cups of water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil on high heat. Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low and let simmer. When rice is 90% cooked, I mix in some fajita or taco seasoning and let it continue to simmer until rice is fully cooked. Easy, simple and a delicious side dish.

For a quick Mexican rice, I combined two cups of rice, and 4 cups of water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil on high heat. Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low and let simmer.
When rice is 90% cooked, I mix in some fajita or taco seasoning and let it continue to simmer until rice is fully cooked. Easy, simple and a delicious side dish.

For the black beans, I used canned beans. Add beans with water to a small sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, cayenne pepper and cumin powder. Let simmer for about 5 to 20 minutes on medium heat. Then remove from heat and serve.

For the black beans, I used canned beans.
Add beans with water to a small sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, cayenne pepper and cumin powder. Let simmer for about 5 to 20 minutes on medium heat. Then remove from heat and serve.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos with mango salsa(Makes 8 generous tacos)

Ingredients:

6 Tilapia Filets
1 packet of Taco seasoning, or
[1 tsp cumin powder, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp paprika]
1 red bell pepper (chopped into strips)
1 sweet onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp oil

Mango Salsa:
1 firm yellow mango (half-ripe, if you’re Guyanese)
5 green onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup cilantro leavee, finely chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
pinch of salt and chili powder

You will also need 8 small flour tortillas and about 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (if you like cheese on your fish tacos).

Directions:
Fish Tacos
Wash and season tilapia filets with pack of taco seasoning, or if ready to use taco seasoning is not available, season tilapia with cumin, chili pepper, oregano, paprika and about 2 tsp salt. Let marinade for 15 to 30 minutes. While fish marinades, warm oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and let cook until brown and soft. Then add garlic, tomatoes, peppers and 1/2 of cilantro. Let saute until tomatoes are soft but not mushy. Add tilapia filets to the top of the cooked seasoning (just let it rest on the cooked seasoning), reduce heat, cover and let steam for about 5 minutes. After about 5 minutes, flake fish and mix together with the peppers, onions and tomatoes. Add the remaining cilantro. Increase heat back to medium and cook uncovered for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Mango Salsa
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix together, then add salt and chili powder to taste.

Making the tacos

Warm tortillas on a skillet. Fold in half and stuff with fish. Top with mango salsa and cheese (if desire). Enjoy!

Tips and Ramblings:
1. This is a quick and easy recipe for fish tacos, if you can’t get prepackaged taco seasoning, don’t be discouraged, some cumin, chili powder and oregano usually gives you that Mexican taco flavor without too much of a fuss.
2. My husband likes to warm his tortillas in the toaster. He folds then in half and toasts them. When they are done, they are usually the perfect shape and really crunchy. Try this trick if you don’t have a skillet.
3. I like to mix it up and cook different / non Guyanese cuisine at least once a week. We have Mexican night, Italian night, Indian night, you get the idea….

Happy Cooking!

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Tilapia Scampi… versus Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp and Tilapia ScampiI made shrimp and tilapia scampi a few nights ago and it was so quick and easy and delicious, I thought I would share. I really should have made this one of my dinner in 30 meals, but you get the idea.

I was out running errands all day, got home and realized, I didn’t defrost any meat, and wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make for dinner. Home delivery in my neighborhood is Chinese food, Chinese food and Pizza. I didn’t want any of that. First I though, I guess it’s vegetarian night… I’ll just cook up something quick. But it was the night before I started my month long, no carbs, clean eating diet and I wanted to be a bit bad! I know, I know. Don’t judge me. So I went to the freezer and the shrimp was staring at me. I knew it wouldn’t take long to defrost so I grabbed it. I knew I would make shrimp scampi for my husband, but what would I could for myself, since I don’t eat shrimp. And then the cliched light bulb went off. Tilapia Scampi. I made shrimp scampi the way I always do… my variation of a food network recipe. I followed the same recipe for the tilapia, with one exception, I added some pesto for additional flavor.

I hope you try these two simple recipes the next time you make pasta!

Now for the Tilapia Scampi…

I followed instructions on the pack and cooked the pasta. This is about 1/3 of one packet of pasta (I didn't want to have leftovers).

I followed instructions on the pack and cooked the pasta. This is about 1/3 of one packet of pasta (I didn’t want to have leftovers).

I seasoned the tilapia with salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.

I seasoned the tilapia with salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.

I then cut the tilapia into quarters, chopped 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion and two roma tomatoes.

I then cut the tilapia into quarters, chopped 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion and two roma tomatoes.

In a medium suace/saute pan on high heat warm 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  Cook, onions, garlic and tomatoes until soft. When cooked, add 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup of sweet white wine and 1 tbsp pesto (I had store bought pesto).

In a medium suace/saute pan on high heat warm 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add onions, then garlic and tomatoes.
Reduce heat to medium  and cook, until tomatoes are soft (about53 minutes).
Then, add 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup of sweet white wine and 1 tbsp pesto (I had store bought pesto). Feel free to add a pinch of salt if needed. Cook down until a semi thick sauce forms.

Add Tilapia Pieces to sauce. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes.

Add Tilapia Pieces to sauce. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, until tilapia is cooked and nice and flaky.

Add cooked pasta. Toss together and remove from heat.

Add cooked pasta. Toss together and remove from heat. Be careful not crush up the fish when tossing the pasta.

Tilapia Scampi

Tilapia Scampi

 

Tilapia Scampi (makes 2 servings)

1/3 pack of thin spaghetti
4 cups of water (for cooking spaghetti)
1 tbsp salt (for pasta water)
2 Tilapia filets
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp parsley flakes
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sweet white wine
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp pesto (I used store bought, premade pesto)

Directions:
Cook pasta according to instructions on the box.
Season tilapia with lemon juice, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper and oregano, then cut into quarters. In a medium sauce/saute pan warm olive oil on high heat. When oil is hot cook onions and garlic. When onions are brown and soft, add diced tomatoes. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until tomatoes are soft, then add wine, pesto and butter. Cook until sauce is semi thick, then add seasoned fish to the sauce. Cover and let tilapia cook for about 3 minutes on each side, coating with sauce. Add cooked pasta, toss together and remove from heat.


Tips and Rambling

1. This makes 2 generous servings, but I only added 1/3 of the pasta to my sauce, because I just didn’t want that much pasta.
2. It’s a good idea to cook the sauce while the pasta is boiling so that the pasta and the sauce finish cooking at the same time. This way you won’t have clammy pasta.
3. Always add a generous amount of salt to the water (like sea water), so that the pasta will not taste bland.
4. You can check to see if the tilapia is fully cooked by flaking the flesh with a fork. If it’s white, tender and flaky, it’s done. If tough and pink, it needs to be cooked some more.

Happy Cooking!

 

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Carrot Pilaf…and Fried Tilapia with a cucumber salsa

Carrot Pilaf and Tilapia

During this week, I had a craving for tilapia. So I made a quick rice pilaf and fried some tilapia. The meal felt like it was missing something. So I went to my refrigerator, pulled a few ingredients and created a cucumber, avocado and tomato salsa. I tossed it all in some lime juice and cilantro and the flavors were just what the fish was missing. Plus, the lime juice over the fish was pretty tasty.  This meal is perfect for a weekday dinner and the left overs were equally delicious.

 

First the pilaf…

 

In large stock pot on medium heat, saute1 large onion (thinly slices), 6 cloves of garlic chopped and about a handful of plum tomatoes (halved). I used about 3 tbsp of canola oil.  When the onions are a little brown, add 1 cup of shredded carrots, followed by 2 cups of rice.  Mixed together, then add 1 tbsp dried thyme, about 3 tsp salt, and a pinch of fresh ground pepper.  Then, add 4 cups of vegetable stock or water.

In a large stock pot on medium heat, saute 1 large onion (thinly slices), 6 cloves of garlic chopped and about a handful of plum tomatoes (halved).
When the onions are a little brown, add 1 cup of shredded carrots, followed by 2 cups of rice.
Mixed together, then add 1 tbsp dried thyme, about 3 tsp salt, and a pinch of fresh ground pepper.
Then, add 4 cups of vegetable stock or water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer until rice cooks and all of the liquid evaporates.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer until rice cooks and all of the liquid evaporates.

The finished product…

Carrot and Rice Pilaf

Now the tilapia…

First I washed the fish with some lemon juice and salt.  Then, I created a dry rub with:1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp fresh thyme, 1 tbsp dried  oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne powder and 2 tsp salt.  Coat fish in dry rub and let marinate for about 30 minutes.

First I washed the fish with some lemon juice and salt.
Then, I created a dry rub with: 1 tbsp granulated garlic, 1 tbsp fresh thyme, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne powder and 1 tsp salt.
Coat fish in dry rub and let marinate for about 30 minutes.

Frying the fish…

Combine a cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs and a cup of flour. Mix together thoroughly.

Combine a cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs and a cup of flour. Mix together thoroughly.

Coat fish in the bread crumb mixture.

Coat fish in the bread crumb mixture.

Add about a cup of oil to a frying pan on high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add flour coated fish. Fry on each side until fish is golden brown (about 2 minutes). Drain fish on a few sheets of paper towels to remove excess oil.

Add about a cup of oil to a frying pan on high heat.
When the oil is hot but not smoking, add flour coated fish.
Fry on each side until fish is golden brown (about 2 minutes).
Drain fish on a few sheets of paper towels to remove excess oil.

 

For the salsa…

Peel and dice 1 large cucumber and 1/2 of a large avocado.  Finely chop 1 slice of red onions. Cut 1 cup of plumb tomatoes in half.  Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Then, add the juice of 1 lime.  Finally add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 tsp salt and a pinch of ground black pepper and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper. Mix together.

Peel and dice 1 large cucumber and 1/2 of a large avocado.
Finely chop 1 slice of red onions.
Cut 1 cup of plum tomatoes in half.
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
Then, add the juice of 1 lime.
Finally add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 tsp salt and a pinch of ground black pepper and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper.
Mix together.

Bringing it together…

Top the fried tilapia with the cucumber salsa, be sure to get some of the lime juice on the fish.

Top the fried tilapia with the cucumber salsa, be sure to get some of the lime juice on the fish.

Put the rice and fish together and enjoy!

Put the rice and fish together and enjoy!

 

Carrot Pilaf (Serves 6 large portions)

Ingredients:
1 onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup plum, halved
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 cup of shredded carrots
2 cups rice
4 cups vegetable broth or water

Directions:
Add 3 tbsp oil to a large stock pot on medium heat. When oil is hot, saute onions, garlic and tomatoes. Once onions cook and become a bit soft and brown, add shredded carrots. Then, add thyme, salt, cayenne powder and rice. Mix together then add vegetable broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer until rice cooks. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

 

Tilapia (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 tilapia filets
2 lemons (juiced) and 1 tbsp salt (for washing fish)
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1 cup oil for frying

Directions:
Wash fish with lemon juice and salt. Make a dry rub by combining thyme, granulated garlic, salt, oregano and cayenne powder. Completely coat tilapia and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. When fish is ready for frying, combine bread crumbs and flour and coat fish with the mixture. Add oil to a large frying pan on high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add flour coated fish. Fry on each side until golden brown (about 2 to 3 minutes each). Remove from oil and drain on a few sheets of paper towel.

Cucumber, avocado and tomato salsa (serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber (peeled and diced)
1/2 large avocado (peeled and diced)
1 cup plum tomatoes (halved)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
1 limes (juiced)
pinch of cracked black pepper
pinch of cayenne powder

Directions:
Combine cucumber, avocado, tomatoes in a small mixing bowl. Add lime juice followed by cilantro, black pepper, salt and cayenne powder. Mix together and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. When I made the rice I added way too much oil for sauteing the onions. I was busy getting my 9 month old out of the kitchen and into his play yard and wasn’t paying attention. The rice came out a little bit greasy but it was still pretty delicious. So be sure not to use more that about 3 tbsp oil.
2. You could add coconut milk to this dish if you like, but since it’s a pilaf I skipped the coconut milk.
3. You could add about 1 tbsp brown sugar for a little touch of sweetness to the rice.
4. Don’t over cook the tilapia or it will be pretty dry. You want it to have a bit of crunch but still moist.
5. Be sure to get some of the lime juice on the fish, it will give it a really tasty flavor.

Happy Cooking!

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