Warm up with this Thai tilapia dish

Thai peanut sauce and coconut milk add an intriguing flavor to tilapia. For this recipe they are simmered together creating a flavorful sauce to gently coat the fish.

Peanut sauce is the base for many Thai dishes and is made from roasted peanuts, soy sauce and spices. There are several types in the supermarket. I choose a thick one when it is available. Coconut milk is made by mixing shredded coconut with boiling water, letting it steep and then straining it. Fortunately, both peanut sauce and coconut milk are available readymade and make Thai-style cooking a breeze.

Basmati rice has a nutty-like flavor and really does smell a little like popcorn when cooking. It’s now available in a microwaveable package which helps to make this a 10-minute dinner.

Helpful hints:

  • Use long-grain white rice if basmati is not available.
  • Whole leaf frozen spinach may be used. Defrost and drain before using.
  • Any type of fish fillet can be used. Cook it about 8 minutes per inch of thickness.


  • Make rice and set aside.
  • Make tilapia.

Shopping list:

To buy: 1 bottle peanut sauce, 1 can light coconut milk, 3/4 pound tilapia fillet, 1 package washed, ready-to-eat spinach, 1 package microwaveable basmati rice and 1 package shredded carrots.

Staples: canola oil, salt and black peppercorns.

Thai Tilapia with Peanut Coconut Sauce

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

2 tablespoons peanut sauce

3/4 cup light coconut milk

2 teaspoons canola oil

3/4 pound tilapia fillet

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups washed, ready-to-eat spinach

Mix peanut sauce and coconut milk together. Set aside. Heat canola oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tilapia and sauté 3 minutes, turn and sauté 3 more minutes for a fillet about 3/4-inch thick. Cook 2 minutes longer for a thicker (1-inch fillet.) Add salt and pepper to taste and remove to a plate. Add sauce mixture and spinach to skillet and boil 2 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Spoon sauce over fish and serve with rice.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving:300 calories (42 percent from fat), 13.9 g fat (6.4 g saturated, 4 g monounsaturated), 84 mg cholesterol, 38.1 g protein, 7.2 g carbohydrates, 1.6 g fiber, 454 mg sodium.

Basmati Rice

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

1 package microwave basmati rice (1 1/2-cups cooked)

1 cup shredded carrots

2 teaspoons canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Microwave rice according to package instructions. Measure 1 1/2-cup rice and reserve remaining rice for another time. Add carrots, oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 231 calories (19 percent from fat), 4.9 g fat (0.4 g saturated, 3 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 3.8 g protein, 42.3 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g fiber, 40 mg sodium.

About the Author