This recipe is featured in the newly released cookbook Chic Made Simple by Esther Deutsch.
You would be hard-pressed to find a tilapia recipe that comes close to this one. It’s the only tilapia recipe I’ve included in this cookbook because I’ve yet to taste another tilapia dish that compares. What makes this coconut crust different from others is that it combines fine and flaked coconut. Since tilapia is a mild-flavored and tender fish, the combination of the two coconut textures gives it an extra boost of crunch and coconut boldness. I find that when I fry fish or chicken cutlets I get a more intense flavor when I season the egg wash instead of the crumbs, fl our, or cornstarch. Besides seasoning the egg wash, I also add some kosher salt and black pepper to the cornstarch coating.
4 slices tilapia (1 lb. total)
Peanut oil, for frying
1 cup apricot jam
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. white or red horseradish, drained
2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce
½ cup cornstarch
Fresh black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. fresh black pepper
1 cup fine ground coconut
1 cup coconut flakes
1. To prepare the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine all the sauce
2. Cut the tilapia into ¾-inch-wide strips (about 4 strips per slice). Trim
the top and bottom of each strip to form a neat rectangular shape.
3. Prepare three bowls for the coatings. In one bowl, combine the cornstarch,
salt, and black pepper. In a second bowl, combine the eggs,
garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼
teaspoon black pepper. In the third bowl, combine the fi ne coconut and
the coconut flakes.
4. Coat the tilapia strips on all sides with the cornstarch coating, then
coat with the egg mixture. Finally, coat the tilapia with the coconut
5. In a frying pan, heat the peanut oil over medium–high heat. (Make
sure the oil is very hot before frying or the fish will stick to the pan.) Fry
the tilapia on both sides until it is golden brown and the crust is crispy,
about 4–5 minutes per side. Remove the tilapia and drain on a paper
towel. Serve with the dipping sauce.