This whole tilapia recipe is so easy to make. The fish is scored, marinated with a simple combination of salt and pepper prior to roasting in the oven, and then later seasoned with an Asian-style sauce.
Our Asian-style oven roasted whole tilapia recipe
Fish is one protein that many people are afraid to cook, however, this whole fish recipe is quite easy to prepare and delicious. With the addition of all of the Asian flavors, dinner is completed easily! Simply cut up some green onions, chili peppers, mince some garlic, and combine a few Asian ingredients to create a delicious sauce. Bake and then later drizzle the sauce all over the fish. That’s all there is to it!
Ingredients needed for this Asian-style whole fish recipe
- Whole tilapia
- Ground black pepper
- Red chili pepper
For the Asian-style sauce:
- Soy sauce
- Green onions
- Korean red chili pepper powder (gochugaru)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Sesame oil
Do I have to use tilapia?
We like the mild flavor profile of tilapia and that is why it was the fish of choice for this recipe. If you don’t prefer to eat tilapia, you could experiment with another mild-flavored white fish variety. We just can’t guarantee the results of another type of fish especially if it has a really strong fishy taste. However, that is what is fun about cooking, experimenting can produce great and surprising results.
Prepping the fish
The best advice is to find a decent local fish market and have them clean and prepare the fish for you! Cleaning fish is most definitely a task you can complete yourself (and we have many times), but if someone else can do it, let them! Scraping the scales is, to put it bluntly, a nasty task. Finding a fishmonger, or a local fish shop that is willing to clean fish will save the mess from happening in your kitchen plus you don’t want or need to be picking scales out of your teeth during your meal.
After the nasty work is done (hopefully by someone else), all you have to do is slice (score) a few slits in the fish a couple of times on each side. This helps the aromatics to infuse the fish’s flesh with additional flavor. Make sure to season the fish with salt and pepper. Salt is essential for success with any recipe, and if you don’t salt the fish before cooking, you’ll end up with a tasteless dish!
What to serve with this whole baked tilapia?
To complete the meal, serve it with steamed rice and your favorite vegetables. If you need side dish recipe ideas, take a look at some of these options:
- Asian-style Arugula and Spinach Salad
- Asian-style Stir-fried Sesame (Perilla) Leaves
- Easy Stir-fried Bok Choy
- Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Eggplant
More seafood recipes to try
- Kimchi and Seafood Pancake
- Soy-free Stir-fried Anchovies (Myulchi Bokkeum)
- Salt and Pepper Shrimp
- Asian-style Stir-fried Squid
- Korean Pan-Fried Whitefish (Saeng Sun Jun)
- 2 whole tilapia, cleaned and scales removed
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small red chili pepper, thinly sliced
For the Asian-style sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Korean red chili pepper powder (gochugaru)
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- Remove any scales from the fish, paying special attention to scales on the belly, head, and near the fins. Sometimes scales are missed even when it is cleaned at your local fish shop, so just do a double check to make sure it is fully cleaned. Make sure the inside of the fish is clean as well.
- On each side of the fish, slice slits from the backbone to the belly. You don’t want to go all the way through the fish.
- Rub salt and ground black pepper all over the outside of the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and put the fish in the fridge for about 4 hours to marinate in just the salt and pepper.
- Let’s make the Asian-style sauce. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside for later.
- Preheat the oven to 345 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the fish on an oven baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and poke several holes in the foil to allow some steam to escape.
- Bake the fish for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and flip each fish. Place back in the oven, and allow to bake covered for an additional 20 minutes.
- Drizzle half of the sauce onto both fish (on one side only). Put the fish back in the oven for 5 minutes uncovered.
- Flip the fish and put the remaining sauce onto that side of the fish. Put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and garnish fish with sliced red chili peppers and green onions.
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