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Fried Whole Tilapia

PREP TIME: 10 Minutes

COOK TIME: 15-20 Minutes

Pla Taut

Fish deep fried whole until Crispy on the outside and juicy tender on the inside. We love this dish for breakfast served with rice and a vegetable on the side. Any fish available to you can be prepared the same way. For this recipe we use Tilapia though when we get fresh seabass or snapper we cook it the same way.

As with all fishy dishes this page contains photos of raw cleaned fish that may be graphic for some.



pretty simple on this list;

Serves 3-4 people;

  • Cleaned whole fish - head removed

  • Vegetable Cooking Oil - 2 cups

  • Salt - a pinch

  • Paper towels

  • Cabbage or leek or onion as a garnish

​* The type of oil you prefer can be substituted here. Olive, Coconut, Grapeseed, and Canola all lend a different flavor and are your choice.


Step 1

Prepare the fish

  • The insides of the fish have been removed and cleaned.

  • Scales are removed.

  • The tail and the fins need to be chopped off.

  • The fish needs to be washed thoroughly with clean water

  • Score the fish along both sides to the bone at an angle

  • USE A PAPER TOWEL OR 2 AND DRY THE FISH THOROUGHLY TO AVOID OIL FLARE UPS. This also makes sure the fish is nice and crispy. Even the inside of it....

Sprinkle some salt on the outside of the fish - (we use kosher or sea salt)


Step 2

Bring the oil up to temperature

For this dish we used a diamond-coated nonstick wok so the fish does not stick to it.

Bring the oil up to about 300f and hold it there. Any hotter and the fish will burn outside and not cook inside. The oil will sort of roll and move around the pan when its hot.


Step 3

Add the fish


Step 4

Flip it and Crisp it

When the cooked side starts to show brown and orange sides it is time to flip it over. Use 2 spatulas or tongs to turn it over and not splash the oil over the edge of the wok. This rolling boil is what you should see or your temp may be too low.


Step 5

The nonstick Technique

Whan uses a spatula to jostle the fish around to make sure the bottom side does not burn to the pan. Important step because if the fish sticks its not very fun or pretty on the plate.

(PS....nevermind my kids in the background....)


Step 6

Use the green onion or some cabbage or another green veggie as a garnish

The fish is done when both sides are brown and appear crispy.

Drain the oil from the fish into the pan and transfer the fish to the plate with the green veggie garnish.

This fish will be juicy and tender inside and crispy outside. Serve with rice and Nam Phrik sauce in place of the salt.


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