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Fried Tilapia with Garlic and Basil

So, often people ask me “where is the best place for Thai food in this city?” My answer always remains the same— we don’t usually buy Thai food outside because we cook that at home. When we go out, we usually look for other stuff. The truth is it’s really a big point of the restaurants to cater food according to the local preferences, and this important rule comes with a price. The authenticity of the food is compromised, but as long as the majority of people love it and ready to pay for it, I have to admit that there’s nothing wrong with that.

Fried Tilapia 3

Thai cuisine is light and fresh, and it’s supposed to be very simple. It’s quick to make and the eating part is not just about the flavors, but the experience all together. That’s the reason Thai food can be very rustic and down-to-earth. Honestly, the restaurants around here can make things a little complicated by adding ingredients we don’t need in the dishes. On the other hands, I don’t think all people here can enjoy humble and rustic version of Thai food. I remember how, on his first year in Thailand, Sadik used to hate stir fried veggies that were too crunchy for him or how I ordered whole prawns with shells and heads intact. During the course of our life together, he has learned to eat like a humble Thai villager.

Fried Tilapia 2

My family loves pungent fragrances of fresh herbs, wholesome ingredients and the simplicity of home cooking. When I cook Thai food, I never have to spend more than 30 minutes to put a spread of few dishes and rice on the table. The smell of the dishes developed in my kitchen is very bold and inviting—especially when I deep fry something. The earthy scent of fresh ingredients rise and dance, and it’s the best form of starters, teasing and playing with your appetite. Here is a dish I recently place on the table. It looks simply and minimalistic. Three whole fish are fried to crispiness heaven and served with zesty smoky chili dipping sauce. One fish for each of us. It’s so hot, fresh and delicious— simply how we usually get it back home in Thailand.

Fried Tilapia with Garlic and Basil


3 Tilapia- cleaned, gutted, washed and patted dry

6 cloves garlic- peeled

1 tsp salt

A handful fresh basil

Oil for deep frying

Serve with Thai Chili Dipping Sauce- You can find the recipe in our old post here.


Make 3 small slits on each side of the fish.

Crush the garlic well with the side of your knife and roughly chop it. Put the garlic all over the fish.

Sprinkle salt all over the fish and rub well.

Stuff the inside of the fish with fresh basil.

Heat the oil in the deep frying pan on the medium- high heat. Fry the fish one at the time so you won’t overcrowd the pan. The whole fish should be submerged in the oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes. The fish will be wonderfully brown and crispy.

Fry the rest of the fish the same way.

Serve with Thai Chili Dipping Sauce.

Fried Tilapia 1


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