Thai Basil Tilapia with Green Curry Vegetables

February 15, 2018  •  Fish & Seafood,

I have a philosophy about cooking various cuisines: you don’t need to be an expert on the techniques and traditions of the region, but you do need to understand flavor profiles to create a dish that tastes “correct” for that cuisine. In the case of Thai food, that means ingredients like coconut milk, chiles, basil, fish sauce, green curry, and lemongrass. We started the evening with a vegetarian soup with shiitake mushrooms and coconut milk in the broth, then followed with this fish entree (paired with jasmine rice with basil and snap peas sautéed in sesame oil with ginger and shallots). The flavors were spot on!

Thai Basil Tilapia with Green Curry Vegetables
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8 to 10
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 cups red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups bok choy, baby variety best, sliced 1" thick
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans coconut milk, shake cans well before opening
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste, green
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 pounds tilapia (or other white fish filet)
  • ½ cup basil leaves, Thai if available, minced
  1. Heat oil in a wok or large sauté pan over medium high heat and stir fry the onions until soft, about 2 minutes. Add red peppers and thick part of bok choy stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender crisp, about 3- 5 minutes. Add green part of bok choy, then garlic and ½ of the chiles and cook an additional minute. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.
  2. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, curry paste, and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, uncovered, for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Lay the tilapia on top of the curry sauce and vegetables, cover, and simmer until fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Gently remove fish to a platter. Pour vegetables and sauce onto a large platter and top with cooked fish. Garnish with remaining chilies and basil.


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