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Grilled Tilapia Stuffed with Nuts and Spices Recipe

11229822_715137745281091_2595210135975101991_nThis seafood preparation draws inspiration from the rich Mughal cuisine in which nuts and spices are often used to create indulgent dishes fit for royalty.
You can use any large, whole fish for this dish like tilapia, snapper, pomfret or even Indian mackerel (fish with a single large bone running through it). A stuffing mixture is made from aromatics, spices and nuts which is then filled inside the fish and then grilled.
A delicious seafood dish which can be the centerpiece of any celebratory meal!
Ingredients:
1. 1 whole large tilapia or snapper, pomfret or even Indian mackerel
2. 1 tsp red chilli powder
3. ½ tsp turmeric powder
4. Juice of ½ lime
5. Salt, to season
6. Black pepper, to season
7. For the stuffing:
• ½ tsp mustard seeds
• 1 red onion, finely sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
• ½ inch ginger, finely sliced or julienned
• ½ tomato, finely chopped
• ½ tsp red chilli powder
• ¼ tsp turmeric powder
• ¼ tsp jeera/cumin powder
• 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
• 3 tbsp assorted nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashewnuts); roughly crushed
• 5-6 raisins
• Salt, to season
8. Vegetable oil, to make the stuffing and to brush while grilling
9. Lemon wedges, to serve
10. Onion rings, to serve
11. Cucumber slices, to serve
Method:
1. Scale and clean the exterior of the fish well. To make a pocket for the stuffing, make a single slit on one side of the fish starting from beneath the head to halfway down along the side of the fish guts. Once the slit is made, remove the guts and other interior parts of the fish using your fingers. This creates a nice little opening to place your stuffing. Score the fish lightly on both sides for easy penetration of the marinade. If you do not wish to do this or find it difficult, a fishmonger can easily do the job for you.
2. Make a marinade with red chilli powder, turmeric powder, lime juice, salt and pepper (add a dash of water if necessary). Pat the fish dry and smear well with the marinade getting into the scored parts of the fish. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or as long as time permits.
3. To make the stuffing, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil and crackle the mustard seeds. Then add the onions, garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions are nicely browned.
4. Then add the tomato and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the spice powders and coriander leaves; sauté for another 2-3 minutes till the mixture comes together. Season with salt and add a dash of water if you find the mixture too dry. Remove and keep aside to cool.
5. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the same pan and add the raisins and nuts; lightly roast till the raisins start to puff up and the nuts start releasing oils. Add it to the onion mixture and keep aside.
6. Bring the fish to room temperature and place the stuffing inside the fish carefully. Secure using toothpicks.
7. Heat the grill to 180°C (fan forced oven) or 200°C (conventional oven). Place the stuffed fish on a grill rack and lightly brush with oil. Place inside the oven for 12 minutes.
8. After 12 minutes, take the fish out (remember it will be very hot) and turn it over carefully. Brush again with oil and place back inside the oven for another 12 minutes or till done.
9. Take the fish out and keep covered with foil for 5 minutes before serving.
10. Serve with onion rings, cucumber slices and lemon wedges. (don’t forget to remove the toothpicks).
Note – You can use a stovetop grill also for this preparation. If you do not have a grill, you can pan fry this stuffed tilapia but just adjust the cooking times accordingly.

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