3 Culinary Uses of Tilapia from Around the World

Healthy international tilapia recipe

Tilapia has a long and storied history. Did you know that images of Tilapia have been found in Egypt painted on tomb walls? They were also one of the three main types of fish said to have been caught from the Sea of Galilee in Biblical times. Fast-growing, lean and incredibly versatile for cooking, it’s no wonder ancient civilizations made Tilapia a mainstay in their cuisine. Here are some ways Tilapia is enjoyed around the world today.

Southeast Asia: Served Whole

Tilapia Thai style dish in Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, eating fish whole is most common. With its firm flesh, Tilapia is wonderful for this option. For an easy meal, simply pat the fish with a mix of softened butter, garlic and lemon juice, then wrap in an aluminum pouch and bake. Served alongside rice and vegetables, this is a quick and easy option for a healthy dinner. Or try your Tilapia Thai-style, simmered in a coconut milk and lemongrass puree and topped with red pepper flakes. Whole Tilapia is also excellent grilled on the barbecue.

South America: Ceviche

Tilapia ceviche in South America

Ceviche is a popular dish made from fresh, raw fish cured in citrus juice along with minced onions, tomatoes and cilantro. It’s popular in many South American countries and can be prepared in a variety of ways using different types of seafood.

In Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Tilapia is frequently used as the base, though mahi-mahi, tuna and shark are also popular. Ceviche is an excellent dish in the summer as it is served cold and doesn’t require cooking. You must, however, ensure that your fish is from a reputable fishmonger as it must be extremely fresh.

Mexico: Fish Tacos, Soup and More

Tilapia fish tacos in Mexico

Mexico is one of the sources of the highest quality Tilapia so it makes sense that the flaky white fish is commonly used in fish tacos. Simply bake Tilapia filets and shred, then stuff into a corn or flour tortilla and add your favorite toppings. Traditional favorites include sliced cabbage, pico de gallo and queso fresco. Tilapia also makes a great addition to Mexican-style soup, and is tasty when spiced up with a piquant sauce such as in Tilapia Veracruzana.

Feeling inspired to get started cooking with Tilapia? Check out our tips for buying the best quality fresh fish at the market.

Photo credits: Regal Springs, Thanthida Rungruangsakorn / Shutterstock, Larisa Blinova / Shutterstock, Magdanatka / Shutterstock