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Hot And Sweet Sesame Chili Fish

Updated on October 18, 2014
Hot and Sweet Sesame Chili Fish
Hot and Sweet Sesame Chili Fish | Source

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Tilapia is well-known for its white mellow flesh
Tilapia is well-known for its white mellow flesh | Source

By now you have all understood that I am a "fish-addict"! I love everything fishy. I am so into binging on fish and seafood that my husband teases me by calling me by the name "baby shark". (blushing)

I always loved chili fish. The fish batter fried and doused in chili hot sauce is one of my top favorite. In Kolkata (a rich base of Indo-Chinese food) chili fish was usually made with Bhetki(Barramundi), a fish native to India, usually preferred for its mild flavored white flaky flesh. Living millions of miles away from Kolkata, I have found that Bhetki is not available here in Texas. (sighing)

But I had my share of surprises. The first incident happened when one day my husband arrived from Costco, he was in all smiles. He swung a packet of fried fish sticks right in front of my nose and boasted that he had tasted it before buying and on the similarity of taste of the fish taste with our very own Bhetki. I quirked an eyebrow. Well these boastings are coming from a man who is not a great lover of fish! I had to try it for myself before giving it a final approval. Well I tried one and the next thing I remembered was of thanking God that finally...finally my Man had developed fish taste! The fish was Pollock.

Another time we were invited to one of my husband's colleague's house for dinner party. There was a potluck party going on. The hostess of the party (the colleague's wife) had prepared a chili fish appetizer with tilapia, it tasted so very well and I was so very seduced by it that I forgot all my formalities and reservations and ate a huge portion of her appetizer. Sometime later I found out that my husband was eyeing me and at one time came close to me and whispered in one of my ears, "Well I can see my baby shark is in action tonight." All I can give him was a guilty smile...

...This recipe is a variation of the authentic chili fish. My hot sesame chili fish is made with tilapia, a white flaky fish found in abundance in USA. Apart from Tilapia you can also use Basa, Haddock, Cod, Swai or Pollock and if you are in India try it with Bhetki.

Talking of Bhetki, O how I badly miss the authentic Kolkata fish fry. I will definitely have to make and eat it here with Bhetki alternatives someday very soon. (determined)

I am apologizing from beforehand that I could not manage enough snaps for my recipe of Hot and Sweet Sesame Chili Fish. Actually this dish was not pre-planned to be posted here but somehow the final product were so alluring that I could not stop myself from sharing it with my friends. These snaps were actually taken in haste just before devouring it.

A fiery and syrupy combination of taste will tease your tongue like anything
A fiery and syrupy combination of taste will tease your tongue like anything | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: Serves 2 people


  • 1 Tilapia fillet, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds, white
  • 1 Red Onion, cubed
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons Vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Red Chili Sriracha Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
  • According to taste Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Sugar/Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Salt, optional
  • 2 tablespoons Cornflour
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 pods Garlic, finely sliced
  • 1/2 inch Ginger Root, finely sliced
  • 1 Dry Red Chili, hand-crushed
  • 2 Green Serrano Pepper, sliced


  1. Wash the fish pieces and pat it dry. Then, in a bowl marinate fish with salt, half teaspoon black pepper powder, 1 teaspoon soy sauce,1 teaspoon vinegar, half teaspoon chinese salt and a beaten egg. Mix them well and keep it marinated for the next 20 minutes.
  2. When you are ready to cook, heat the wok/frying pan. Dry roast the sesame seeds until they are slight red in color. Keep them aside for future use.
  3. Spread the cornflour in a plate. Next, heat sesame oil in the pan. When the oil is hot enough dip the marinated fish pieces in the cornflour. Coat them well on both sides, shake off excess coating and gently place them in the hot oil one after another. Fry them until the pieces are crispy golden brown. Remove the fried pieces to a plate and blot the pieces with a tissue paper to suck up excess oil.
  4. Take a small cup and prepare a sauce by pouring the remaining soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha sauce and roasted sesame seeds. Mix them well. Keep aside.
  5. Heat the oil again in the pan. When the oil is hot enough temper it with hand-crushed dry red chili, ginger and garlic slices. A pleasant aroma will start coming out.
  6. Place your pan on high heat and add the cubed onions. Fry them well until they are almost caramelized. Next, add the sliced green chili and the cubed bell peppers. Continue frying until they are crisp. Add salt now.
  7. Next, add the prepared sauce to it. Next add the fried fish pieces. Toss the entire contents in the pan for few minutes. Finally, before turning off the heat sprinkle the remaining black pepper powder, sugar/honey and Chinese salt and give a final toss. Switch off the heat. Keep the pan with lid closed on top of the oven in Standing Time for about next 5 minutes. And then you can straightaway serve the Hot and Sweet Sesame Chili Fish with Steamed Jasmine Rice or Fried Rice and enjoy tilapia like never before.


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