By Nayana Mena
What is Tilapia?
Tilapia is the name given to a multitude of fish that derive from the species of ‘Cichlid’ fish. They are typically found in freshwater environments which include streams, ponds, rivers and lakes and are known to be plant – eating, which make them even more fresh and delicious to eat.
Wild Tilapia originally came from African waters and is native to the River Nile of Egypt. However, in more recent years they have been distributed world wide due to their popularity and easy farming ability which means, you and I, regardless of our location can enjoy this delicacy.
Why do we love it?
Tilapia has been loved by people for many years. In ancient Egypt it was referred to as the ‘miracle fish’ and has been cultured by them in fresh water for over 4000 years. In today’s times, Tilapia is loved because of its affordability and mild taste. Because they breed easily and require an inexpensive vegetarian diet they are cheap to farm and also cheap for us as consumers to purchase. Also, they are quick and easy to prepare and have a mild (less fishy) taste allowing for it to be seasoned and prepared for a variety of different dishes.
There are tons of health benefits that come along with eating Tilapia, so this further explains why it’s loved so much. Firstly, Tilapia is a high quality source of protein that contains all of the Amino acids for a human’s regular intake. They are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to brain and immune system development. Furthermore, eating Tilapia on a regular basis is said to help you control your body weight as it’s naturally low in fat and high in proteins. And lastly the range of nutrients found in tilapia fish is said to contribute to hair strand strengthening and promoting skin renewal. So with all of this, it is fair to say that there is more to Tilapia than just good taste!
Ways to cook it?
Now for the most important part! How do we cook this fish?
Across the globe different cultures cook and enjoy this fish differently depending on the ingredients available to them, and practicalities of cooking. We know that it can be steamed, fried, grilled, roasted and even put into deep fried fritters or soups. It can be accompanied with different types of potatoes including mashed, boiled, roast and chips or alongside some rice of your choice. Some people choose to lightly garnish the fish with just butter, garlic, lemon and some herbs or with a cajun seasoning mix. Here at African Plate we love to season tilapia with ‘Ami Ami’ spice, ‘Cameroon Pepper’ or our own ‘Barbeque mix’ based on the season or occasion. Tilapia is very versatile, so regardless of your preferences for taste, it’s something that everyone can enjoy.
Our own recipe: Oven grilled Tilapia
- 1 Cleaned and gutted whole Tilapia. (Most fishmongers can descale it for you)
- 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 crushed Garlic/ or 1teaspoon of garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- ½ diced onion
- 1 seasoning cube
- 2 ½ teaspoons of African Plate Barbeque Mix
- 1 Teaspoon of African Plate Cameroon pepper.
- Dash of salt
- ½ teaspoon of clear honey
Quick And Easy Steps:
- Firstly, you want to clean, descale and gut your fish carefully using water, lemon juice and a knife and pat dry once this is complete. And then tear the skin diagonally creating marks on either side.
- After this you want to preheat your oven to 190 Degrees (F) and get a baking tray ready for when the fish is prepared.
- Next, we will begin to create the marinade for the fish. Place the vegetable oil, lemon juice, thyme, seasoning cube, salt, honey, garlic and both amounts of African Plate ‘Barbeque mix’ and ‘Cameroon pepper’ into a bowl and stir until it makes a paste.
- Once the paste is made, you can add the diced onion into the paste and stir further.
- Now you want to apply the paste onto and inside of the fish making sure to douse the skin tears with the marinade for extra flavour.
- Next, place the marinated fish onto a baking tray and put into the oven for 7-10 minutes.
- After this time is up, lightly douse the fish with the excess marinade and flip so both sides get a crispy outside texture.
- Place the fish back into the oven for another 8-10 minutes.
- Now remove the fish from the oven and plate up with a garnish of parsley.
Try this fish alongside some jollof rice, plantain and salad for a delicious and hearty meal that the whole family will love.
Let us know if you enjoyed this recipe and any other recipes that we can try down below in the comments.
Thank you for reading, and why not add Tilapia to your menu this week!