Tilapia with Cumin, Mango, and Thai Basil

This was one of those dinners that pretty much put itself together. I had some mangos that had just ripened and some tilapia defrosting in the fridge, a quick Google search provided this recipe for “Moroccan-style” tilapia, and when I said the dish needed something extra, my dad mentioned we had Thai basil growing in the backyard.

And it ended up tasting great! Moreover, the prep was easy, it took five minutes to cook, the spice rub gave the perfect amount of kick to the tilapia, and the different flavors went unexpectedly well together. If you happen to have the ingredients on hand, this recipe would make a great weeknight meal, and the leftovers travel well and can easily be brought to work.


– Four 5 oz tilapia filets

– Salt and pepper

– Cumin

– Coriander

– Canola Oil (or another neutral oil)

– One mango, diced

– Thai basil, chopped (or cilantro. Or whatever other green things you’d like to add)

– Sriracha (always)

Start by rubbing some salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander into the fish. Then peel and chop up the mango. I’m sure there are tons of ways of doing this normally, but this is the way I do it. Quarter the mango. Make shallow cuts, forming cubes, like so:

Then with the knife, you can just separate the mango from the peel, and it falls off into nice little cubes. You can also just eat the mango cubes right off the skin. Like a monkey. Or a guinea pig.

Now that the mango and the fish are prepared, heat some oil in a skillet. I tend to use olive oil just by default these days, but according to my dad, fish cooks better in canola oil because it needs to be cooked at high temperatures, and olive oil burns at high temperatures. So I made the switch, and that little substitution really seems to have worked — the fish cooked really well.

So, fry your fish, five minutes on each side or until all the pinkness disappears and the fish starts to get tender and fall apart. Keep the heat on medium to medium-high and keep moving the fish around so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan.

When the fish is done, top with mango and chopped basil.

Serve over rice, with a stripe of sriracha on top.

One more quick kitchen tip: if you’re working with leftover rice, and it’s started to get hard, if you put it in the microwave with some water underneath a paper towel, the rice will steam and get soft. You’ll never have to throw out rice ever again! Awesome.


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