Thai Braised Tilapia
"Tilapia is really meaty. I like to braise it with curry, coconut milk, and lemongrass, then finish it with lime and cilantro. It's really easy and excellent over steamed rice with sliced cucumbers and topped with toasted peanuts," says Dan Holzman, executive chef of cult-meatball destination The Meatball Shop.
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp sliced scallion
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp red Thai curry paste
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 stalk lemon grass (cut into 3 segments and pounded with the back of a knife)
- 2 tilapia fillets
- 1 juicy lime
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 10 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
- 2 cups cooked basmati rice
- 1 hot house cucumber
- 1/2 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup toasted peanuts, chopped
- Kosher salt
- 20 minutes before cooking, season the tilapia fillets liberally with kosher salt (more then you think you'll need). Add the oil, ginger, garlic, and scallions to a 10-inch frying pan and cook, stirring constantly over a low/med heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chili paste and continue to cook for 1 min.
- Add the coconut milk, the lemongrass, and raise the heat to medium/high to simmer stirring constantly to melt and mix the milk solids, simmer for 10 minutes. Gently place the two fillets in the pan (the coconut milk should just barely cover the fillets) squeeze 1/2 the lime into the pan and throw in the rind. Cover and continue cooking until the fish is cooked through, about 7 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Season heavily with salt and mix with the vinegar. When the fish is cooked, plate it beside the basmati rice, pour the cooked coconut curry over the fish, and cover with the torn basil and whole cilantro stalks. Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve with the cucumber salad on the side.